"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." - Edward de Bono

Q. Really, what’s the big deal about being more creative? Why would I want to be?

A. In every aspect of our lives-our homes, parenting, gardens, meals, finances, how we market ourselves, and even the way we look and dress, “today, perhaps more than at any other time in history, the pressure is on us all to be more creative,” says author David Baird in his book 'A Thousand Paths to Creativity'.

Yet, current studies show that children lose touch with their creativity as they grow older until it’s barely evident when they’re adults. Research indicates:

• Most children at the age of five ask 30 questions an hour; by the age of seven they ask just 2 or 3 questions in the same time period

Intuition also drops dramatically, becoming negligible by the time kids enter first grade

• Although creative genius is displayed in 95% of children between the ages of 3 - 5 years of age, it is displayed in only 10% of people who are 20 years old.

Yes, the current buzz words are creativity and innovation.

Think about it. Today’s world is changing so rapidly, if we pay heed to the media, read studies or follow statistics, it seems one must be superhuman to just keep up with the ‘game.’

The concept of addressing our individual and collective creativity has become so vital that it is emphasized in virtually every sector:

Creativity in Home, School and Work: Creativity and Innovation Day, April 15 (birth date of the penultimate Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci), launched in 2001 is now celebrated in 106 communities across 43 countries worldwide.

• Creativity in Business: In his Business Week online article reviewing the 2005 World Economic Conference held in Davos, Switzerland, David Nussbaum points out that, “Two things, at least, are clear. First, top managers of global corporations are convinced that innovation and creativity are critical to the future success of their companies. Second, to make that happen, a massive hunt for creative talent around the world is under way."
This is true even more today!

• Creativity in School: Starting with the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College-State University of New York, under- and post- graduate creative studies are now offered in institutions worldwide.
The British School Association adopted creativity as its mandate: on its website, the Arts Council of England wrote,

“We believe creativity is not simply about doing the arts – it is about thinking, problem solving, inventing and reinventing and about flexing the imaginative muscles. Working with creative professionals from many different disciplines helps develop learning skills that are transferable and creative thinking.”

• Creativity Organizations: In 2005 an international online Creativity Portal and the Creativity Coaching Association were each established.
It is Charles Darwin who concluded, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”

Demands, responsibilities and challenges face us at every turn in our personal and professional lives. How, then, can we not only survive, but thrive?

Professionally, we might:

1. Become skilled at identifying issues and creative problem-solving. (Try brainstorming 30 possible uses for a pencil.);

2. Undertake innovative initiatives;

3. Capitalize on the skills, talents, experiences and extended networks of personnel and associates;

4. Start or join a support association;

5. Hire a coach or consultant. (Many of the largest, most successful organizations and CEO’s rely on the advice and guidance of specialists in their fields.)

Personally, we might:
1. Eliminate self-imposed, artificial restrictions (“I can’t!” “It’s impossible!” “Won’t work!”);

2. Embrace new experiences (different foods, genres of books, films, magazines);

3. Expand thinking through creative exercises (word games, new skills, workshops, courses);

4. Change patterns of behaviour and routines;

5. Surround ourselves with like-minded, positive people;

6. Be spontaneous and somewhat daring, especially if there's not much to lose;

7. Recognize and let go of life-long personal prejudices, self-conceptions and set boundaries; and

8. Open our minds to new possibilities.

There are limitless resources upon which one can draw to creatively maximize professional and personal potential. One just has to be willing - and prepared - to do it.

Author's Bio: 

Creativity Consultant Nellie Jacobs is a catalyst for creative-thinking and change.

A best-selling author, award-winning artist, speaker,and radio talk show host with thousands of devoted listeners worldwide, Nellie jumpstarts the process of self-examination, offering various ways to explore the world of possibilities, mine your resources, recognize opportunities and achieve your fullest potential. For information, visit http://ignitingimagination.com