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Ask Dan
Q.
Always having to think of clever exhibiting ideas has worn me down. How can I get my creative juices flowing again?

A.
There is a scene in the movie "Madagascar" where the lemur King Julien sings the get-your-feet-moving song "I Like to Move It." That very message – move it – is one of the secrets to rekindling the creative flames.

In other words, break the sedentary rhythm of your daily routine: Leave the office, for example, and go for a walk or run. This will help you enter the mental state of what psychologists call "flow." Flow, to quote Steven Kotler's book on the topic, "The Rise of Superman," is "an optimal state of consciousness where we perform our best and feel our best." More importantly, creativity springs from flow.

There are several other ways you can trigger flow in addition to physical exertion: e.g., visit a museum you've never toured; travel to a new city; converse with someone on a topic that fascinates or challenges you, such as a favorite book or an intriguing scientific idea; or play a game of strategy such as chess.

The common denominator among all of these suggestions is that they are filled with some degree of novelty and unpredictability, which forces you to concentrate fully. That laser-like focus allows you to push work-related matters aside and start seeing things from a fresh perspective. As a collateral benefit to this exercise, your creative juices should start flowing again. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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