Clarity First Newsletter, March 15, 2019


Clarity First

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

One of the benefits of writing a weekly letter to you, dear reader, is that it forces me to stop and reflect on what happened during the past week. And every week I am positively blown away by the quality of the connections in my life, the sheer audacity of the contributions that my clients and colleagues are reaching to make, and the visions of love and peace so many strive for. Patti is right. We do have the power. Don’t give up. Happy Friday.


Personal Development
“What practices would you recommend for those of us who are in despair about the suffering of the world?”

Thich Nhat Hanh: As activists we want to do something to help the world to suffer less. But we know that when we’re not peaceful, when we don’t have enough compassion in us, we can’t do much to help the world. We ourselves are at the center. We have to make peace and reduce the suffering in ourselves first, because we represent the world. Peace, love, and happiness must always begin here, with ourselves. There is suffering, fear, and anger inside of us, and when we take care of it, we are taking care of the world…”
Article: Imagine a Pine Tree


Systems Thinking, Next Economy
Interconnected principles that underlie systemic health and a regenerative economy.

“The universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and sustainable systems throughout the real world can and must be used as a model for economic-system design.

“At the Capital Institute we distill our research into key interconnected principles that underlie systemic health and collectively represent the eight principles of a Regenerative Economy.”
Web Page: 8 Principles of a Regenerative Economy


Organizational Health
Surprise. Finding purpose, or meaning in work gives energy, passion and motivation to get out of bed in the morning.

“There is convincing evidence that organizations that focus on creating engaging workplaces put themselves in a position to flourish. Over the last 14 months, we have visited over 50 of such workplace pioneers. They show us how to engage employees and therefore thrive as an organization; time and time again.

“To see and get to this new and improved way of working, we should clear our minds of the old management paradigms. The old management paradigms that continue to focus on command-and-control structures in a time that demands a radically different approach. It is time to fill in an entirely new canvas. A canvas focused on unleashing the full potential of employees and therefore liberating organizations of sky high levels of employee disengagement.”
Article: The 8 Habits of Companies You Wish You Worked for (And How to Put Them Into Practice)


Learning Species, Culture
The problem in America today is not incivility or intolerance. It’s that each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred.

“Political scientists have found that our nation is more polarized than it has been at any time since the Civil War. One in six Americans has stopped talking to a family member or close friend because of the 2016 election. Millions of people organize their social lives and their news exposure along ideological lines to avoid people with opposing viewpoints. What’s our problem?

“A 2014 article in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on ‘motive attribution asymmetry’ — the assumption that your ideology is based in love, while your opponent’s is based in hate — suggests an answer. The researchers found that the average Republican and the average Democrat today suffer from a level of motive attribution asymmetry that is comparable with that of Palestinians and Israelis. Each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred — and is therefore an enemy with whom one cannot negotiate or compromise.”
Article: Our Culture of Contempt


Inequality, New Economy, Social Messaging
It seems that the idea of socialism is gaining public cred. It’s time to bone up on the literature.

The cover story of a recent issue of New York “is about contemporary socialism: what it means to be a socialist in 2019, and how the movement transformed from — as writer Simon van Zuylen-Wood put it — ‘irrelevant, [from] the dustbin-of-history’ to a movement that is near-ubiquitous, at least among a certain type of under-35-year-old. For those who’re interested in learning more about the origins of the movement, we’ve consulted a slew of experts … on the best books to get started with. As always, each book is recommended by at least two experts.”
Article: The Best Books to Understand Socialism, According to Experts


Audience Definition, Segmentation
Why the term “behavioral archetype” is more accurate than “customer persona”.

“The term behavioral archetype is more accurate as it relates to a typical example of customer behaviors which is characteristic for a group subset of the audience, whereas the term persona stands for a representation of an individual person which carries a lot of subjectivity.

“Behavioral archetypes are structured models of customer responses to a brand. As the name suggests they tap into the behavioral level of cognitive processing. In a nutshell, the focus is on who does what, how they do it, and why.”
Article: Behavioral Archetypes Instead of Personas


Advertising, Social Messaging
Full-page newspaper ads reimagine classic print ads

“Last week, in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Budweiser reimagined a series of ads from the 50s and 60s that had originally portrayed women as nothing more than servants to their beer-deserving husbands. The new ads, appearing as full-page color ads in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, juxtapose sexist Bud print with updated versions portraying women in empowered roles.”
Article: Budweiser Modernizes its Old Sexist Ads for Women’s Day Campaign



“We’d like to continue right now, with a selection that was inspired by our Brazilian trip, we got the Brazilian rhythm for this tune from that trip. The melodic line was inspired by some very old Cape Veridien folk music. And we put it all together, into a little thing we dedicated to my dad. We call it Song For My Father.”

Recorded live in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 1968.
Video: Horace Silver Quintet – Song For My Father


Image of the Week

The image of the week is by photographer Jim Lommasson. It is currently hung in the show What We Carried: Fragments from the Cradle of Civilization in Kalamazoo, MI through April 15.

“Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, 140,000 Iraqis have been displaced and have become refugees in the United States, leaving behind their belongings, families, histories, and cultures. Added to this number are the approximately 20,000 Syrian refugees who have come to the US since 2011 to escape a seemingly interminable civil war.”

“…Working with various refugee agencies in Portland, Oregon, in 2010 Lommasson began photographing Iraqi and Syrian refugees in their homes and apartments. The project’s narrative arc took shape when he noticed that most refugees had one or two personal belongings that they managed to bring from their homelands. …As Lommasson photographed the belongings and mementos his subjects brought to America, he’d give them a copy of the print to write their stories on the 19 by 13-inch image. This allowed his subjects to tell their stories in their own words, granting them a sense of agency.”

“…Referring to his subjects, Lommasson told Hyperallergic, ‘members of their families might have been killed, and they might have had to get on a rubber raft, but they found a safe harbor in Kalamazoo. And that’s the America we want to be.’”
Article: Refugees Tell Their Stories Through Mementos


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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