On this week’s Virtual Lunch in the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, Alan Arnold joins Marlys for a conversation about how to tap your creativity when faced with a challenge. You’ll learn how to:
- Stimulate your creative juices
- Recharge like powerful people do
- Keep an idea journal
- Have insightful conversations
Here are links to items in the interview:
[00:00:00.630] - Marlys Arnold
You're listening to the Trade Show Insights podcast, Season 15, Episode 19. I'm your host and exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold, bringing you tools to improve your exhibit results. On today's episode, brought to you by the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, we've got a rebroadcast of our Virtual Lunch where we're talking about how to break through the roadblocks and unleash your creativity.
[00:01:02.120] - Marlys Arnold
Some of our guests that we've had on this year, some people I've known for a long time – some of you I've known for a long time – some people, some of our guests are people that I've just discovered this year, maybe at one of the other virtual conferences that I've attended. Today's guest I actually met when I was still a teenager and we collaborated on our very first creative project the year we were dating, I was editor of the college yearbook and he was the photo editor.
[00:01:33.920] - Marlys Arnold
And we pretty much have been collaborating on creative projects pretty much ever since. He helped me with my books, the books that I've written for the trade show industry. He's also helped me host events. He co-produced a couple of, I guess you could say, nontraditional types of books, one of which we may talk about a little bit more when we get into the conversation. And we're currently working on a young adult novel together.
[00:02:03.450] - Marlys Arnold
We've led tastings and cooking classes and just all different kinds of things. So you know him from behind the scenes, but I'd like you to actually have the opportunity to meet my husband, Alan Arnold.
[00:02:14.830] - Alan Arnold
[00:02:17.160] - Marlys Arnold
Welcome to the front of the camera.
[00:02:20.010] - Alan Arnold
[00:02:22.260] - Marlys Arnold
We'll start out talking about creativity. You know, you and I, we sometimes we have to work hard to rein it in because we're too creative, I think.
[00:02:31.840] - Alan Arnold
True. Lots of ideas.
[00:02:34.260] - Marlys Arnold
Yeah. Yeah, I, I know I'm especially bad with that. He helps me a lot because I have a tendency to just like. Ya know. If, if anybody's ever watched the British version of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch where they have all the things flying of showing all these thoughts, that's how my brain works. So. So Alan has to somehow sometimes help me rein it in. But talking about creativity, I know you've done a lot more research on it than I have. But one of the things that you and I always do is getting out and and finding new ways to or new inspirations. So going to, of course we can't do some of these things now, but going to museums and galleries and things like that. But I know you've got through your research, found some of the famous people, famously creative people in history, that do different things to to inspire them. So share some of those stories.
[00:03:35.430] - Alan Arnold
Well, I think a lot of people don't know that walking, especially walking in nature, really changes your perspective. Beethoven would take walks after lunch and he would take his staff paper and pencil just just for the inspiration so he can have something to write it on. Charles Dickens would walk for miles. Now Marlys and I have walked a lot this year, as you know, and I think we maybe walk a couple of miles. But one morning at two a.m., Charles decided I want to walk to my country home. So at two o'clock in the morning, he heads out to go almost 30 miles to go to his country home.
[00:04:17.400] - Marlys Arnold
Wow. In the middle of the night.
[00:04:19.230] - Alan Arnold
In the middle of the night. There's just so many examples of people taking walks and getting out. It kind of frees your mind. Einstein said he would let his mind just wander. And I think a lot of people need to wander almost like children, you know, to be curious about. About the obvious things, things that you're used to, the routine things take different routes. I think it's good to almost trick the brain into trying new and different things. How many of you have brushed your teeth with your non dominant hand?
[00:04:57.960] - Marlys Arnold
Yeah, it's not easy.
[00:05:00.280] - Alan Arnold
Or driven driven a different route to or from work. Or tried to write with your other hand. It it really does trick you and make you really think differently.
[00:05:14.800] - Marlys Arnold
And Marco says that his creative superpower is working on how to inspire emotional connections to companies and clients and trace their emotional journey in physical and virtual events with the help of technology. So, yeah, emotional connections, that definitely is a creative superpower of, you know, finding ways to give people. I know. I would say my creative superpower is using words and working with words because I was spending my pretty much my whole life trying to be an author, which I finally am, and and writing and and teaching, you know, it's helping people try to. Try to connect in ways that they might not otherwise. And I see Nicole says she's hearing a bit of an echo. Unfortunately, it's because we're in different rooms, but it may still be close enough that it's picking Alan's mike is picking me up, so I'll try to talk maybe a little softer. But so talking a little bit more about creative inspirations. You know, some of the different things we talked about taking a walk. Another thing is figuring out who creative people that you can model after. So, you know, we talked a little bit about that when we were preparing this of, you know, trying to think, what would this famous person do? So do you have any examples? I can't remember if you had any examples of that.
[00:06:43.170] - Alan Arnold
It's it's interesting to have looked into this. People don't think of sleep. But, you know, lack of sleep affects us in a variety of ways, and I've found that a lot of the creatives either slept really long hours, they would sleep nine, 10, 11 hours a night. Or the opposite, they would sleep just very little at night and then nap throughout the day and it's been scientifically proven that naps are not a bad thing. They actually help. Einstein again would nap after lunch. Edison would nap up to three hours a day. He wouldn't admit to it, but his staff knew that he was napping maybe on the lab table during the middle of the day. Churchill. His afternoon nap was non-negotiable.
[00:07:39.810] - Marlys Arnold
[00:07:40.830] - Alan Arnold
Every day it just happened, and the same with JFK, Kennedy, his staff knew that no phone calls, no folders, no paperwork, unless it was a true emergency. They would close the curtain. He napped, and then he went right back to the Oval Office and went right back to work. So napping is not a bad thing. It actually re-energizes, refreshes you. Your subconscious mind kicks in and you're able to connect things that maybe you weren't able to connect. We've all woken up in the morning after thinking hard about a problem the day before, and all of a sudden you're like, oh, why didn't I think of that before? That's the value of the subconscious mind kicking in.
[00:08:28.880] - Marlys Arnold
Well, and it's interesting to hear how powerful people take naps. Maybe that's where the term power comes from. But I know companies now that are actually having napping pods where they're like these little chairs with domes on them where you can go and take a nap during work hours.
[00:08:45.680] - Alan Arnold
or rooms that are set aside, yeah.
[00:08:48.490] - Marlys Arnold
Mm hmm. And Nicole says her creative super power is connecting dots to have to picture the situation or solution others might not be able to see. That is a really good super power to be able to connect the dots, because a lot of people, let's face it, a lot of people don't have that ability. So I think a lot of times when we say creativity, I think people think, oh, well, I'm not an artist, or I'm not a musician. But creativity can take so many different forms of creative thought and how to process things and how to put them together in different ways. So, you know, I love how everybody's sharing their creative, creative ways, especially of how they work with their clients, because I think that is really key.
[00:09:32.300] - Alan Arnold
Well, and it sounds like these people have honed in. They know what their super power is and they're out there to help people because we all remember when we were in grade school and kindergarten or first grade, if the teacher said, OK, who out there is an artist? Well, everybody's hand went up. Everybody's an artist, everybody's creative. Well, then life kicks in. You have people that by the time they're in fifth, sixth, especially up into junior high, if the teacher asks, well, who's creative, who's an artist, you might have one or two hands come up and you know, the hands that are going to come up because you too think they're the they're the best drawer or craftsman or whatever they're doing. And I just don't do anything. So life kicks in, you start comparing yourself, you start looking at your peers and you're like, well, I can't do that. So you give up. And unfortunately for some people, that kicks in to a lot of areas of life. And then. You just don't participate, you just kind of roll along every day until all of a sudden one day you realize. I don't need to compare myself, I'm the only one of me there is and my superpower is different than everybody else's.
[00:10:49.980] - Marlys Arnold
Well, that's true, that's true. I think a lot of people are stifled by the fact that we're trying to compare ourselves to somebody else. I know, talk about artistic. I grew up with somebody who was highly artistic, now illustrates children's books. And so, you know, there was no way to try to compete with him. So, I was just glad he was a year ahead of me in school. So finally in my senior year of high school, I had an opportunity. But one thing is practice, too. I mean, creativity. It's like a muscle. I mean, you've got to exercise it and and do things with it. And, you know, and I liked what you were saying when we were talking about this last night about how, you know, not everything's going to be a winner.
[00:11:33.300] - Alan Arnold
Right. Well, and that's one reason a lot of people keep journals. President John Adams wrote fifty one journals. DaVinci, as you know, wrote a ton of journals, drawings, and Einstein is rumored to have written 80,000 pages. So journaling is not necessarily just for your thoughts and your feelings, but it's a it's a record of what you're thinking. How many times, again, have you had a great thought, you didn't write it down or record it and then you can't remember it?
[00:12:10.220] - Marlys Arnold
[00:12:12.590] - Alan Arnold
And you talked about, you know, experimenting. I mean, experimenting is part of life. You try it, you fail, you learn from you go on. Imagine Edison. You're creating a light bulb. How many how many times are you going to try it? One hundred times, 50 times. 20 times? Well, I tried three things and it didn't work. Try ten thousand. The next time you're creating a product or writing a book or a paper and trying to think of a title, imagine if you had to write your title ten thousand different ways to find the right one. A lot of people wouldn't stick with it.
[00:12:50.680] - Marlys Arnold
Well, and that's true because we do have this feeling, this need to be perfect and, you know, we've got to get it right and we got to knock it out of the park. And, you know, and, you know, it's just it's not always going to be that way. So one of the things that I love and I don't remember where I first heard this, but, you know, learn to build the plane as you fly it.
[00:13:11.500] - Alan Arnold
[00:13:11.830] - Marlys Arnold
And so I try to do that now. And so and you know, a lot of times a lot of times I do have an idea. And it's like I just start running with it before and I'll start telling people I'm doing it or or whatever. And I'm like trying to figure it out on the on the back end as I go along. Well I kinda did that this spring when I did the Virtual Event Trailblazer Summit. So.
[00:13:33.680] - Alan Arnold
[00:13:34.090] - Marlys Arnold
But but it is, it's true. It's like, you know, don't wait until you've got it perfect. Just do it. And another thing is don't be afraid of being outside, way outside the lines.
[00:13:48.480] - Alan Arnold
[00:13:49.080] - Marlys Arnold
One of my favorite commercials, my favorite ad campaigns of all time was when Apple did the Think Different campaign. And so the ad that they did was, here's to the crazy ones and you'll see in the links. I've got a link to that. But I love I absolutely love the message of that because it's, you know, here's to the people, the square pegs in the round holes and the people that are way outside the lines because it's the crazy ones who really change the world. I mean, if everybody just had to keep marching in the same line,
[00:14:27.480] - Alan Arnold
[00:14:27.840] - Marlys Arnold
We wouldn't make progress. And so I think that that's something that we sometimes get way too caught up in is, you know, feeling like, well, I'm crazy or I'm weird or, you know, this is not going to work. Well, stop with the limiting beliefs and just, you know, color outside the lines.
[00:14:45.690] - Alan Arnold
Right. Are there lines?
[00:14:48.440] - Marlys Arnold
[00:14:49.400] - Alan Arnold
[00:14:50.330] - Marlys Arnold
yeah, who says there has to be lines, right?
[00:14:52.970] - Alan Arnold
Exactly. Well, well, and actually kind of leads me to another thought of conversation. Just because you're stuck on a problem doesn't mean you have to be the one that has to solve it. You have co-workers, you have peers, you have people that maybe are in completely different industries. I mean, there are people out there that that get stuck on a problem. And so they actually stop and they read magazines or watch videos of different industries because who knows, maybe that industry is doing something, like you talked earlier. You can be walking through a mall, some day again, and see something. It's like, oh, I never thought about doing it that way. If you think of a lot of combinations, you have Lennon and McCartney, Jobs and Wozniak. And this one fascinates me. There was a group, Henry Ford, Edison, Firestone and Burroughs. They would actually get together not only to brainstorm, but during the summers they would actually get together and and go out camping together. Just to be together, go back and forth with conversation. And I can only imagine being a fly on the wall in some of those conversations.
[00:16:14.060] - Marlys Arnold
Yeah. Yeah, it would have definitely been interesting to hear that conversation. Well, and another idea that we talked about is just trying to remove yourself from the situation and almost having a conversation with yourself and giving yourself advice. You know, if you can if you can take yourself out of the center of the problem and and try to look at it as if you were giving advice to a friend.
[00:16:35.410] - Alan Arnold
[00:16:35.760] - Marlys Arnold
So that's another technique of how to creatively problem solve.
[00:16:40.430] - Alan Arnold
Right. Well, then you have to also expect the unexpected. Because you know things are going to happen. Things are going to pop up. Things are going to fall through, whatever it is. Expect the unexpected and allow it to happen. And then when that new opportunities come along, learn to say yes to them.
[00:17:02.050] - Marlys Arnold
Well, and I think that's a really good point for us to leave it on today is, you know, embrace the challenges, embrace the opportunities and say yes and figure out how to do it, even even if you have to build the plane as you fly it.
[00:17:16.540] - Alan Arnold
[00:17:19.240] - Marlys Arnold
All right. Well, thank you, Alan. I appreciate you coming on camera today and sharing your creative insights. Thanks to everybody who joined us. And we will see you next week for virtual lunch. Bye.
[00:17:30.940] - Alan Arnold
[00:17:37.750] - Marlys Arnold
You can find all the links mentioned during our interview in this episode's show notes at TradeShowInsights.com, and if you'd like to join us for an upcoming weekly virtual lunch, you'll find information on that at ExhibitMarketersCafe.com/lunch.
[00:18:04.390] - Marlys Arnold
If you enjoyed today's episode and would like more, you can subscribe to the podcast and automatically receive future episodes on your chosen device. Simply search for Trade Show Insights in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or virtually anywhere else that podcasts are found. Then click the subscribe button. Trade Show Insights is protected by the Creative Commons copyright license. You may feel free to share this recording with colleagues or embedded on your own blog as long as it's shared in its entirety and is not used for commercial purposes. To learn more, please see the link in the sidebar, the show notes at TradeShowInsights.com. Well, that's it for this episode of Trade Show Insights. Be sure to check out our show Notes and Archives at TradeShowInsights.com. You can also connect with me using the social media links or the contact page on the site. I'm Marlys Arnold. Thanks for listening and be sure to join us next time for more tools to improve your exhibit results.
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