Follow your curiosity. Creative professionals are insanely good at it. They know what to look out for during the creative process. It's a skill you can master once you learn to respect your curiosity. The importance of asking the right questions and following up with even more more questions cannot be overemphasized when you want to solve difficult problems or to create something truly original. Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.

Lorraine Twohill, Head of Marketing at Google explains:"Curiosity and creativity are never far apart. You need to be curious to identify problems worth solving, and then come up with new solutions."

A naturally curious mind takes interest in a wide range of subjects to find connections to help solve everyday problems. When you are open to new ideas, the more you are likely to follow your curiosities, and the more you will be able to connect new information and discoveries with what you already know.

Curiosity sparks new levels of creativity

Assume nothing but question everything. Curiosity can give you more (and better) building blocks to develop creative solutions. It fuels the soul and drives innovation. Einstein once said he had no special talent but was rather passionately curious. To spark new levels of creativity in your work, you need to observe things around you, practice mindfulness, and step outside your comfort zone.

Professor of Psychology, Todd Kashdan says, "Curiosity has been neglected, even though there are few things in our arsenal that are so consistently and highly related to every facet of well-being -- to needs for belonging, for meaning, for confidence, for autonomy, for spirituality, for achievement, for creativity."

Your insatiable drive to create, learn, invent, explore, and observe deserves to have the same status as every other drive in your life. Give yourself permission to wonder what could be possible and make even the slightest move in that direction to find answers. The path to deep knowledge in any field requires you to look for questions that inspire answers you can't possibly predict.

Curious minds connect information better

Leonardo da Vinci was insanely curious at the prime of his career. His observation and belief that "everything connects" informed most of his work. Making connections between seemingly unimportant things is perhaps one of the most crucial creative thinking skills you can ever master. He didn't differentiate so much between subjects because he believed that they were all inter-related.

Your instinct to explore should grow into an instinct for inquiry. "A classic example is Steve Jobs' curiosity for typefaces which led him to attend a seemingly useless class on typography and to develop his design sensibility. Later, this sensibility became an essential part of Apple computers and Apple's core differentiator in the marketplace."  Says Deena Varshavskaya, CEO of Wanelo. Creativity happens by making unexpected connections between existing ideas.

Cultivate your curiosity

Curiosity has been a major factor behind many scientific and technological discoveries and the advancement of human development. Cultural psychologist Jerome Bruner says curiosity is so important that it "is essential to the survival not only of the individual but of the species". Curiosity sustains our interest, and motivates us to inquire or explore.

Curiosity is a human drive. It's never too late to starting focusing on developing curiosity instincts. Begin practicing mindfulness and be conscious of your immediate surroundings. Be curious about things you usually ignore. Don't take ordinary things for granted.

Take time to observe and ask questions. Don't just read and learn about your field of education. Explore other industries. Following your curiosity can lead to the breakthrough ideas you have been waiting for as a creative professional. You can only harness and make the most of curiosity if you recognize and accept the need to make time for it.

Published on: Aug 24, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.