Clarity First Newsletter, March 16, 2018

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

The ‘us-vs.-them’ paradigm on display in Washington is getting really, really old. As Daniel Christian Wahl points out in this week’s lead article, “the basic story we are telling about humanity — who we are, what we are here for and where we are going — no longer serves us as a functional moral compass.” But look around, there is a new cultural narrative emerging. Worldwide millions of people are learning to design and weave social fabrics that rely on interdependence with each other, and with the planet. It’s not on CNN yet, they’re getting rich covering the collapse of the old form, but we are learning to make societies and economies that work.

Happy Friday. It is for me. My mainline x-c ski area, Prospect Mountain, in nearby Woodford, Vt, has more than 80 inches of new snow to account for. See you there? 

We need a new story to guide collective response to the converging crises we face.

“A new cultural narrative is emerging — one that unites humanity in our interdependence with the wider community of life. This new and ancient story of interbeing with life and as life is driving people and communities around the world to create diverse, locally adapted, thriving cultures in global collaboration.”
Article: [We are] a Young Species Growing Up

The consumerist model, and our fossil resources, have been stretched to their limits. What could be an alternative model of production?

“Our future lies in a care-based economy that embodies a commitment to leave things better rather than extract value from the world as quickly as possible.”
Article: When Value Arises From Relationships, Not From Things

One of Thierry Brunfaut’s #5minuteposters.

Start with your vision of success.

“When you plan forwards, it always seems that there are a million different things you could do first. And consequently, a whole slew of different paths you could take forward towards your goal. Which can make it difficult to get started, and gain clarity about how best to proceed.

“On the other hand, when you plan backwards, you start with the goal already having been achieved, which makes it easier to figure out what had to have happened right before realizing the goal. And then the thing that had to happen right before that. And before that, and so on, until you end up at today.”
Article: A Backwards Strategy to Increase the Likelihood of Achieving Your Big Goals

Learn from others’ success.

A collection of real fundraising decks from real startups, including Buffer, Wework and Airbnb.
Website: Startup Pitch Decks

So many meetings are lost opportunities.

Bad meetings suck, and many meetings are bad. Maya Bernstein and Rae Ringel have a better idea: use design thinking to plan your meetings. Design thinking, of course, puts the user at the center of the experience. So, your first question should be: “Who will be in the room and what are their needs?”
Article: Plan a Better Meeting with Design Thinking

The daily list that will “determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see, and the story you tell yourself about what’s happening.”

Seth Godin has devised a ridiculously simple lens through which to focus your attitude:
Make two lists.
On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks…
On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have…
Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it’s safe and sound. Read the other list every day.
You get to pick which list goes where.”
Blog Post: Make Two Lists


In 1998 the Neo-Soul movement was swelling, and singer and songwriter D’Angelo and drummer Questlove came to the same beach to ride the waves together. Inspired by the fact that Stevie Wonder had recorded both Music of My Mind, and Talking Book there, they chose to work in the West Village’s Electric Lady Studios, the studio that Jimi Hendrix built. They holed up there together for months, digging through crates of records to find the analog, organic rhythms on which they built their sound. Others were attracted to the energy gathering in the hallowed studios, and before long Common, Erykah Badu and the Roots were all recording seminal albums there, at once. It’s an amazing story and Paste Magazine has captured it in an animated mini-documentary.
Film: The Soulquarians: The Collaboration Between Erykah Badu, Questlove, D’Angelo, and More

Images of the week

The images of the week are by Ghanaian photographer James Barnor. Active in the 50s and 60s, Barnor’s photographs “represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis.”
Article: Ever Young: The Photographs of Ghanian Color Pioneer James Barnor

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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