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Individual Creativity is an essential life skill that all of us possess.  Many don’t see themselves as creative because society has defined creativity in terms of art, music, science and not as a gift that each of us receives at birth.  The confusion comes in that we are all different, with varying amounts of creativity, different styles of creativity and different problem solving preferences we bring to the table. Therein also lies the strength of people who recognize the necessity of different styles and preferences to successfully solve their problems.

So if we are all creative, why don’t we jointly leverage that creativity to solve the world’s problems?  Good question.  The answer lies in the type of environment in which we live where people are confused by mistruths and untruths.  In this time of polarized opinions, critical thinking and open expression of views has been suppressed to the point that for many, creativity became a risk they did not want to take.  If creativity and the positive change it brings to society is seen as the enemy, it will go underground in society or for some even be extinguished by disillusionment.

For years now, the workplace has been too little about quality and passion for the job and too much about bottom line costs and corporate profits, resulting in mediocrity.  How could it be otherwise, when you have thrown out the baby with the bathwater, the baby being creativity?  Often the very people who alert organizations to the problems within and are able to solve the problems are the first to receive a pink slip. The irony is that this waste of creative talent is not limited to corporations but educational and non-profit organizations as well.  Does that make sense?

The repression of critical thinking over a long period of time puts a society in a mode of thinking which does not question the status quo.  Whether out of  fear or just habit, the results are the same.  Status quo thinking  encourages sameness in thinking, draws its strength from keeping things as they always have been.  Security is based on the false premise that what we have always done to solve our problems will always be the best solution for the future.

IWe are now transitioning into an environment of free thinking, questioning of the status quo and collaborative answers for the most serious challenges such as health care and war.  But many people don’t know what to do with this type of thinking.  If you disagree with someone, the easiest thing to do is lash out, focusing more on winning than being right.  The essential thing to do to reach innovation is to listen to all view points and discern after careful consideration, the option that best solves the problem, given all of the circumstances.  Paramount to this kind of thinking is the understanding that change is constant and critical thinking must always drive that change.

How interesting it is that we so quickly have forgotten the past effectiveness of these characteristics that brought us civil rights, an end to the Viet Nam war, the international space program, social justice initiatives and so many other rights we experience on a daily basis.

We now have an opportunity to reclaim our individual voices and celebrate our birthright to leverage our own creativity for the greater good of our nation.  With that birthright comes the responsibility to become critical thinkers and challenge all facts for their accuracy and authenticity. The cost to our society as a whole to not having a fully engaged and questioning public is huge when we see the cost both in actual dollars, lives and life quality with a polorized society.

It is time to join in the renewal of a nation by bringing together our creative energy and leveraging it against our challenges to come up with innovative solutions.  There is no right or wrong, it isn’t democracy vs. socialism, nor democrat against republican.  We are seeking the best answers to our problems not a defense of the status quo which may have gotten us here in the first place.  We are not victims, without options here but citizens with choices to make using our own creative minds to separate fact from fiction.

Let’s come together as engaged citizens, respectfully listen to other view points, courageously find our own voices and critically think through our own decisions.  Let’s base the outcomes of this national group process on what is best for all people, not just those in power. Our focus needs to return to the values this country was founded on which is that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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