Clarity First Newsletter, March 1, 2019


Clarity First

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

I’m inspired by Carol Sanford and what she stands for. For one, she’s not afraid to exhort leaders to stop comparing their potential to what exists. Instead, she asks, what could be?

Happy Friday, and with this wish of happiness, a challenge. Next week find at least one place to insert the question “But, what if?” into your thinking. Our future is made of manifestations that don’t yet exist.


A podcast about the art, science, and mechanics of collaboration.

“Ask yourself: How often have you walked into a room where you were about to work with colleagues, friends, or even strangers, and thought, ‘I’m going to focus on being a great collaborator today’? We spend so much time on leadership, and hardly any time on helping each other do great work together. We hope to change that, in our own small way.”

Article: Announcing Plays Well With Others, a new podcast about the Art and Science of Collaboration


Personal Development, Learning
The Atlas of Emotions — an interactive map of feelings

“Western science has been measuring what mental hygiene looks like for ages — unfortunately, most studies have created division, rather than alignment, among experts.
“The Dalai Lama imagined ‘a map of our emotions to develop a calm mind.’ He asked renowned emotion scientist, Dr. Paul Ekman, to realize his idea but to keep religion out of it.”

Article: Dalai Lama Has the Antidote to Destructive Emotions


Purpose, Mission, Vision
If you are writing or re-writing your organization’s mission statement, approach the process as if you were composing a purposeful poem

“Because mission statements represent the reduction of a complex vision into a few carefully chosen words, they are similar to Japanese Haiku, poems that capture concrete images with metaphysical implications in just 17 syllables.”

“Poetry is reductionism at its most powerful, cutting away everything from an image except the content of a few words, but leaving its complexity intact. Haiku, the Japanese form consisting of only 3 short lines (totaling just 17 total syllables) exemplifies this reductionism.”

Article: Mission Haiku: the Poetry of Mission Statements


Learning, Teaching, Organizational Health
“When it’s brain-based, it’s evident in our actions that chemical and electrical circuitry work in our favor and benefit those around us.”

Ellen Weber is my kind of nerd. With her prolific and inspiring work she celebrates what she calls a “brain-based approach to learning and leading.”

She does it by herself, at her blog Brain Leaders and Learners. There she documents her scholarly understanding of how the brain works and how we learn. For example, she’s just finished a three-post report on how her local Rotary Club used a brain-based approach to engage its community to best understand how the club can be relevant and responsive.

Her graphic style seems to be inspired by a Dr. Bronner’s bottle. It breaks all the rules about reader experience by packing too much information into each infographic. It shouldn’t work. But because there is valuable insight in each one, I’m compelled to read every word. And I love that she is completely comfortable with language like: “It’s really a matter of neurons and dendrites that spark new synapses for change. Remember, a neuron‘s nothing more than a nerve cell, and our brain holds about 100 billion of these little critters.”

This woman is changing the world from a Rotary Club in Canada. So I crib her notes, which she shares very generously.

Blog: Brain Leaders and Learners


Next Economy
Generational wealth is seen as a key contributor to the gap between the rich and the poor.

“The reality is that the top indicator for economic prosperity is not hard work or intelligence, it’s the family you’re born into.”

Article: US Inequality Is Only Getting Worse, And The ‘Dynastic Wealth’ Bemoaned By Warren Buffett May Be One Of The Reasons Why


AI, Personal Contribution
Employees increasingly value working with others.

“The most interesting findings come from surveying both (employer and worker) audiences (why would you want to do that?) and comparing the results. The result can be seen in the infographic below.

“The expectations regarding AI increasing co-worker collaboration shows the starkest difference. In this digitalized world, employees increasingly value working with others. So the findig that 85% of workers do not think AI increases co-worker collaboration (by taking away mundane tasks) is a bit surprising.”

Article: Survey Shows Employers and Workers Have Drastically Different Views on AI’s Impact on their Jobs


Personal Development, Group Productivity
Motivation is the force that keeps us going and the drive behind why we do what we do. It’s important to understand it to get what you want.

“When we appreciate the motivations of others, we can more effectively navigate potentially difficult conversations and propose solutions that can more easily be agreed upon, all with a greater sense of mutual satisfaction.”

Article: Six Ways to Understand Other People’s Motivations and Achieve Your Own Goals



Gary Clark Jr. has a new album, and the normally august New York Times is positively giddy:

“For decades, vintage-style blues and the flesh-on-strings virtuosity it requires have been shunted toward nostalgia, preservationism and the die-hard realms of Americana. In 2019, Clark is an exceedingly rare figure, a bluesman who has a major-label recording contract and a worldwide audience, one he has built by tearing up stage after stage, show after show.”

“He doesn’t hide his musical models. He harks back to foot-stomping country blues in “The Governor,” a sardonic take on the justice system, and in the lovelorn “Dirty Dishes Blues,” proving his command of blues essentials. He forges direct links from the Ramones to Chuck Berry to the Rolling Stones in “Gotta Get Into Something,” a burst of insomniac adrenaline. His falsetto vocals in “Feed the Babies” and “Pearl Cadillac” echo Curtis Mayfield and Prince, as he sings about parental responsibility and about his own gratitude to his mother. “I Got My Eyes on You” emerges from a roiling caldron of organ and guitar, like early Santana, to pledge unswerving love. And “Feelin’ like a Million,” which follows its opening lines — “Friday night and I just got paid/I’m out looking for some trouble” — toward an ill-advised fling, turbocharges a reggae beat with stabs of distorted guitar and flickers of trap high-hats.”

Article: Gary Clark Jr. Finds a 21st-Century Blues Spirit on ‘This Land’


Image of the Week

The Image of the Week is titled Embarrassed Hands. It’s hung now at the First Amendment Gallery in the show, Please Hold, a solo exhibition by Baltimore-based painter Rachel Hayden.

Of her work, Hayden says “In painting, I’m seeking logic and control in the mess of life. I’m searching for a concise visual description of a floaty feeling, or a falling feeling. I’m making a collection of small acrylic paintings using recurring images: gentle hands, drops of sweat and tears, and the sun and moon. These images are ubiquitous, but in my work, I like to think of them as my own set of icons. Over time, I am developing a personal language, using these repeat images as characters in my alphabet.”

Article: Rachel Hayden’s Universal Symbology in “Please Hold”


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 tool for transformation. Learn more.

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