Clarity First Newsletter,
April 16, 2021

“Poetry is not resting on the given, but a questing towards what might otherwise be.”—Adrienne Rich

Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

The chartreuse and ruby red baby leaves of spring are unfurling so fast that you can almost see them move. Such resurgence stirs giddy feelings of new possibility. In this hopeful frame of mind it is so much easier to quest toward “what otherwise might be”. Let’s.

Happy Friday.


Don’t care about who is right. Care about truth.

“A Stoic will flip-flop…if the facts demand it. A Stoic will align with the enemy…if the enemy is right (Marcus Aurelius famously said he’d hand the kingdom over to Avidius Cassius, his would-be usurper if it was for the good of Rome). A Stoic will accept a controversial or even objectionable view…if it’s true. A Stoic will give up…if they’ve been going the wrong direction.”

Article: Not Who’s Right, What’s Right


“We need shifted spaces to have the conversations we have never had.”

Nature Kaleidoscopes,” Angie Gray

“So much of what’s difficult about leadership concerns knowing. I should know what to do. I do know what to do, but others can’t yet see it. I think I know what to do, but perhaps I am missing something crucial. Regardless of what I ‘know,’ we need to arrive at knowing collectively. And on it goes. As leaders, our relationship to knowing is at a permanent boil. We must get very comfortable moving forward while still finding out.”

Article: On Poetry and Leadership

Personal Development

Lesson one is ‘I give up’.

“(Alan) Watts wasn’t an academic. He botched an opportunity for a scholarship to Oxford due to his shamefully ‘presumptuous and capricious’ writing style.

“He also wasn’t an expert in what he taught. Despite writing extensively about Eastern philosophies like Buddhism, Hinduism, Toaism, and Zen, he wasn’t ordained as any kind of monk or didn’t strictly follow any one system.”

“… His essential message … as he shared in the preface to his autobiography In My Own Way, is to strive to ‘integrate the spiritual with the material’. He believed that this could be done by carving ‘your own way’, by accepting ‘your own karma’. and by ‘following your own weird.'”

He had me at “I give up”. I give up pushing. I surrender to acceptance of what is, when it is. It is liberating. We live in a culture that pushes us to perform, to win. How’s that going for you? How’s that going for us?

Article: Alan Watts on The 5 Most Important Lessons of The 21st Century


Workers are really, really not ready for offices to reopen.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus,Prostock-Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus and Thinkstock.

“COVID-19 vaccinations continue to run ahead of schedule, many workplaces that went fully remote last year are starting to set timelines for bringing people back to the office—and their employees are not happy.”

Article: “I Do Not Trust People in the Same Way and I Don’t Think I Ever Will Again”

Customer Experience

Businesses struggle to understand how they can retain their existing customers in competitive markets.

“Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as saying ‘sorry, we made a mistake’ even before the customer realizes it – and that is what we call Proactive Customer Service.”

Article: 6 Ways Proactive Customer Service Can Lead to Customer Retention and Growth

User Experience, Affinity Mapping

Affinity Mapping explained by mapping how love is complicated

Eleftheria Anastasiadou has written a beautifully clear articulation of the simple and powerful practice of Affinity Mapping. She did it by mapping a conundrum many of us have faced at least one point in our lives.

“Discover why my love life is a disaster by defining the wrong patterns.”

Article: How I Sorted Out My Love Life Using the UX Method Affinity Mapping


Emanuel Heilbronner saw the Dr. Bronner’s brand as a vehicle for spreading his ‘Moral ABC’, and ultimately for advancing social change.

Dr. Bronner’s was founded in the mid-1900s, but its history starts almost a century prior. The Heilbronners were a family of soapmakers who began crafting soaps in their home of Laupheim, Germany, in 1858. Emanuel Heilbronner (who eventually dropped the “Heil” in his name because of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s rise to power) was the third generation and emigrated to the United States in 1929. He would start his own business called Dr. Bronner’s in 1948, producing liquid Peppermint soap and health food seasonings.

“Emanuel (who adopted the honorific ‘Dr.’) felt passionate about his beliefs and spoke in an enthusiastic manner. He had a powerful personality that sometimes clashed with others—in fact, part of the reason he moved to the United States was that his Zionist ideals and approaches for modern soapmaking clashed with his father and uncles. His behavior even landed him in the Elgin State Insane Asylum, from which he escaped shortly before founding Dr. Bronner’s. So it makes sense that the brand Emanuel created would reflect his character and points of view.”

Article: Message on a Bottle: The Story Behind Dr. Bronner’s Soaps


Tallinn, Estonia Street to Close for Two Weeks to Help Frogs Migrate

John Naisbitt, the futurist who warned in his 1982 bestseller, Megatrends, that “We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human nature”, died on April 8 at his home in Velden am Wörthersee, Austria, at the age of 92.

Far From a Waste of Time, Daydreaming Might Be One of the Best Things You Can Do With Your Free Time.



Wikipedia says that “Jared Lee (born 13 May 1988), known by his stage name DUCKWRTH, is an American rapper and songwriter from South Los Angeles, California.” I say if you want to know where R&B came from and where it is going just let this refreshing, soothing and so-smart music wash all over you. I hear notes of Prince springing from roots planted by Marvin Gaye, held together by the rehearsed ensemble playing of James Brown’s Flames. And I hear a delightful, soulful groove that I’ve never heard before. The future starts here.

This is a four-song concert that he and his very tight band recorded for Tiny Desk (at Home)’s contribution to this year’s SXSW online festival.

“DUCKWRTH has long been a creative soul. He spoke with NPR in 2019 about growing up in a Pentecostal household in South Central Los Angeles, and how those two worlds helped shape his journeys between R&B and West Coast G-funk.”

Article/Video: Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: DUCKWRTH


Image of the Week

The image of the week is “a sea of dark dunes, sculpted by the wind into long lines, surrounds Mars’ northern polar cap.”  NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

I’m one of those people who ALWAYS has a song playing in my head. 50s doo-wop, nu-soul, the hip-hop our kids listened to when they were in high-school—the original trigger never matters. The songs are always there. When I saw this image of the surface of one of the planets that share our sun the song The Creator Has a Master Plan by Pharaoh Sanders just occurred.

The energies that created this image are the same energies that guide our daily lives.

Article: NASA Shares Breathtaking Image of a Wind-Sculpted Sea of Blue Dunes on Mars Taken by the Odyssey Orbiter

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

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