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You've probably never thought of yourself as creative. But when was the last time you thought of an unusual costume to wear to a costume party, used mashed rice when you ran out of glue, connected your alarm clock to a music system or your favourite radio programme so that you could wake up with the melodies you love, used a seashell as a paperweight, wound up your clock with the sharp edge of a paperclip and when the clasp of your necklace came undone, secured it with a stray piece of string? Whenever you seek to do things differently, including the last minute improvising and altering of ordinary, everyday situations, experts say that you are indeed, being creative.

Creativity is about thinking outside-the-box and studies have proved that this isn't a rare talent that one is born with, but rather a finely-honed skill that most people can develop in their lifetimes.

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Creativity can give you the edge you need in a world that is wracked with difficulties and intense competition. It can make your problems easier to solve, your career more fulfilling, your relationships more enjoyable and those long Sunday afternoons and damp rainy days more lively and vibrant. " By thinking out-of-the-box you'll achieve your full potential," says Dr. Mary C. Murdock, Associate Professor and graduate faculty member at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the Buffalo State College University, NY. She is also the

co-author of Creative Problem Solving and Role Playing. Here are some interesting ways by which you can nurture your creativity, regardless of your age, profession, and social standing. Do the same things differently: Changing one's routine is essential and even the smallest of changes can make a difference. If you're a late riser, try waking up early for a week. Change the traditional straight-back chair in your office to a swivel seat; try playing a usual game of golf with a different club. Go out to lunch if you're always bringing home-made fare! And if you're constantly surfing the net or watching television, look for alternative activities. Are you in the marketing profession? Then instead of approaching your marketing challenges with traditional methods, (such as through SMS ads, spam mail, print or online advertisements) think of new dynamic ways to create awareness that go beyond just blindly pushing your products.

Consider these examples: For DHL, an easyto-download Tetrisstyle game was created and the boxes within the game were labelled with the DHL brand name. Ten percent of the users forwarded the game to their online friends. Travellers at the Hong Kong airport were allowed to upload good-bye messages onto Motorola sponsored displays throughout the airport. CBS Mobile teamed up with Loopt, a social mapping service, to deliver the first location based mobile ads. For instance, if you're strolling down a street at noon, checking the sports scores on CBS on your Blackberry, and you get a banner ad that says "Getting Hungry? Pizza is $5 off, just around the corner," that's what we call effective advertising! Doing the same things a little differently can help us find creative solutions that we may not have


explored otherwise. It can also expel boredom from our lives. So whether it's packing a present with an unusual bow layered with chocolate or hard candy, or deciding to buy shoe-laces in shocking pink or green, you really have stumbled upon a creative gene!

ensure that your creativity keeps thriving. There are many ways you can do this. You can put up an 'Ideas board' in your room and jot down random thoughts and ideas here every day. You can also start a blog and write about anything that comes to mind. You could also fill a shoe-box with unusual or interesting articles that inspire you, plans for future projects and creative goals that you are trying to reach. Have a group session with friends. Ask someone to start a story and others in the group to continue telling it, retaining the same characters and setting.

Quell the inner critic: Often it is our own inner voice that warns us away from doing anything differently. For instance, you may not have considered yourself an athletic person, but if you do try playing tennis in the mornings, you might even discover that you enjoy it! To silence your inner critic forever, challenge yourself and constantly push the envelope when it comes to developing new talent and skills. This involves enrolling in activities you've always been interested in, but never thought you were quite good at. If you can't draw or sketch, take a quick tutorial online and try out the basic sketches. Step out of your comfort zone to create a new dimension to your personality!

Explore the possibility of taking up something achievable and yet different-such as bonsai culture, collecting unique (and meaningful) trinkets from around the world for a charm bracelet, signing up for a pottery class... Take on unusual hobbies: An unusual hobby that requires time and attention could be a great stressbuster, allowing your creativity to surface. Explore the possibility of taking up something achievable and yet different-such as bonsai culture, collecting unique (and meaningful) trinkets from around the world for a charm bracelet, signing up for a pottery class and setting up a postcard collection ... unusual hobbies challenge the mind and allow you to build up your cerebral forces! "Change your focus," suggests Dr Roger Von Oech, author of the bestseller A Whack in the Side of the Head: How You Can Be more creative. "If you're usually visually oriented, pay attention

to smells. If your typical action is logical, try being emotional or intuitive for a change."

You'll be surprised at how everyone's creativity sparks a number of twists in the tale! Also, you can challenge each other to come up with original proverbs, an alternative name and designation (if you were to change your original one) or how they would

react in unusual and funny situations. Another mind sharpening exercise involves thinking of original uses for everyday objects. For instance, can you guess alternative uses for a pen? It could be an antenna, a magic wand

or even a walking stick for a doll! The object of this exercise is to be as imaginative as you can. Creativity is most powerful tool to spellbinding success, as long as it is carefully nurtured and fostered.

Plan unique vacations: Whether it's mountain climbing or scuba diving, plan vacations that will ensure that you are attempting different activities. For instance, even on a city break to Singapore, you can still squeeze in time for some unusual activities such as hot-air ballooning, exploring the countryside on a bike or enjoying a day of spice, tea or chocolate shopping! An unpredictable holiday where you discover lesserknown joys will definitely refresh and rejuvenate you more than a regular run-of-themill break. Play mind games: "Creativity is a skill" said the late former president of Princeton Creative Research, Eugene Raudsepp. "And like any skill, if you don't practice it, it atrophies." Playing mind games, either individually or in a group will APRIL 2012 PARAMOUNT AIRWAYS | 3


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