Clarity First Newsletter, December 29, 2017

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

This is the last letter of the year, and what a year it’s been. As she often does, Maria Popova, who makes and runs, has a perspective that is both comforting and inspiring:

“It has been a difficult year — politically, personally. Through it all, I have found solace in taking a more telescopic view — not merely on the short human timescale of my own life, looking back on having lived through a Communist dictatorship and having seen poems composed and scientific advances made under such tyrannical circumstances, but on far vaster scales of space and time.”
Article: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times

Tell others your hard limits. Provide solutions to find a common ground.

Two years ago 195 countries signed a climate treaty in Paris. To do so, they borrowed a technique from the Zulu and Xhosa people of southern Africa called an “indaba” (pronounced IN-DAR-BAH).
Article: This Simple Negotiation Tactic Brought 195 Countries to Consensus.

The true scarcity of modern times isn’t stuff or entertainment, or even attention. It’s clarity.

Our lives once depended on finding information. Now our sanity demands that we filter it.
Article: If Content is King, We Need an Revolt and Someone Needs to Kill Him. 

A democracy is a terrible thing to waste.

Exactly one year after the disastrous 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party swept statewide races in New Jersey and Virginia, making significant gains among voters in suburban communities that have traditionally favored Republicans. Democratic election victories were driven by women, young people, people of color, and LGBT people, all galvanized in opposition to President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Article: This is What Democracy Looks Like

A handy checklist for change

Tweet: Managing Complex Change

Science says: look at art.

There are measurable evolutionary and neurological benefits of looking at art.
Article: On Neuroaesthetics, or the Productive Exercise of Looking at Art

What is the core value that your organization provides to the marketplace?

“A clear, concise, and well-communicated God Particle provides teams with a common perspective and context for communicating. It enables team members, regardless of position, to boil down their thoughts, ideas, and communication strategies to their most simple form and align them with the mission of the organization. It makes communication, execution, and ethics easier.”
Article: Every Business Has A ‘God Particle’

“I will not suffer if I can keep my mind clear enough to keep my heart engaged.”

When Sylvia Boorstein is in distress, she says to herself, “Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax.” Here, she explains why those words work so well.
Article: Restoring the Mind to Kindness


The solstice just passed. The emerging light begs the question: where would you rather be?
Playlist: New Moon in Sagittarius

Late this year Mavis Staples released If All I Was Is Black, her fifteenth album. This week’s playlist features a duet with Van Morrison from that record.

Images of the week

At the age of 16, Humza Deas bought a second-hand iPhone and began posting lifestyle photos to Instagram. Now, four years later, he’s got a quarter-million followers and a New York Magazinecover on his CV. This kid is raising the bar on self-taught.

WNYC’s Studio 360 did a great article about him when he was 17, and New York Magazine just featured some of the incredible work he is doing with a drone. Don’t miss his Instagram page.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Mitch Anthony, and Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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