Driver & Outcome: Clarity & Connection – Part 1
Quick progress check . . . Any new or clarified ideas?
If you naturally lean towards building skills, like finding greater clarity or making new connections as a skill, our exploration of DVL will likely be more emotionally engaging for you than if not. Since DVL is about empowerment, our exploration of it here is more likely to resonate with people who value a challenge involving discovery more than habit — who seek a blend of curiosity, problem solving, creativity, risk-taking and imagination.
You might even think of it as an intellectual and emotional downhill snow sport that offers a big reward at the end of the run. It’s not just about winning, speed, or a momentary thrill. It’s also about unlocking the potential to do and be more in our lives. With this potential in mind, let’s talk about the centrality of clarity and connection to DVL.
We’ll start with the idea of clarity and wrap up with a short exploration of connection.
Part 1: Clarity
One way to “define” clarity, to use a popular cliché, is “getting on the same page” – in every way possible. Another way to think of clarity is seeing something more precisely or accurately or in the same way as another person — with less room for mistaken or unintended interpretation. Whether, for example, I show you a picture of a stop sign, the word “Wow!” or the figure “$44.50” in the middle of a blank page, the meaning of that visual representation — how you interpret that representation as a sign or message depends on at least a handful of variables. Here’s a potential list: Any other markings or images immediately surrounding it, your personal history with that image, any possible expected or anticipated reason you think I’m showing it to you, how much time you have to look at and think about those representations, etc.. In other words, its meaning depends on the context or situation you happen to be operating in. Obviously, it’s a stop sign, but so what? There’s no inherent meaning without a situational pattern to identify and respond to.
In other words, clarity involves three things:
(A) a sensory input, stimulus or communication: a word, sound, story, image, picture, data, etc. in other words – the content.
(B) our interpretation of it depending on the context or situation.
(C) a behavioral response to both A and B.
Herein lies an awesome, powerful, and mysterious dimension of clarity: Like beauty, clarity is in the eyes of the beholder. So, nothing is obvious to the uninformed and anyone’s interpretations can be highly subjective. Even numbers, as powerful and clear as they seem to be much of the time, only have whatever meaning we give to them at a particular time — and with each passing minute, that meaning can change.
Given this variable, I’ve found it always worth asking: What does that look like to you” or “What does that mean to you”? or “What is your interpretation of that?” Sometimes the answers I get back are surprising, sometimes they’re confirming, sometimes they cause me to rethink my own position and look with fresh eyes. But these are the best (clarifying) questions to ask at almost any time because they at least indicate where the other person’s page is located.
Let’s extend this idea about clarity into a experience of a world filled with opportunity, stress, and change. Under these conditions, our relative state of clarity is key to our success and well-being. So, in the most complete way possible, why not think of clarity as a state of mind, body, emotion, motion, action or at least a state of readiness for action? Practically and ideally speaking, don’t we also want our state of clarity to be at least partially as objective. Given we’re subject to many influences, and thus fallible, we might think we “are clear” just because we feel ready to act and have done our homework, but let’s remember: We all have biases, blind spots, unconscious motivations, and susceptibilities. We all interpret what we see and hear differently
Just as clarity can be an empowering state that inspires and activates, it can also be elusive, fleeting, and illusory as new or better information presents itself. Therefore, it’s risky to take one’s own state of perceived clarity as the one and “only way it is”, or “what will be automatically shared by others,” because that certainly doesn’t always happen. Even so, people often act as though they’re 100% clear when they may not be. This can be the case for any number of reasons, including, but not limited to: 1) They may not have all the relevant or accurate information even when they think they do; 2) They are misinterpreting what they do know; 3) They will believe, do, or say almost anything to convince themselves or others that they’re right.
Given DVL is a highway for interactivity and response, DVL encourages a mindset for asking the people you’re sharing something with questions like the ones I’ve already mentioned: How do you see this? or What do you get from this? or How does this look to you? or What’s your take on this?. . . and so forth. You almost can’t go wrong. Getting good feedback is gold and DVL helps you mine that gold.
Getting feedback is another way of ensuring our internal clarity is in sync with external objective reality. If gaining the synchrony of internally perceived and externally demonstrated reality is the challenge; it’s ever satisfying when we establish that synchrony. In this way, the DVL “mindset” is to fully employ a digital canvas (workplace, surface, etc.) to modify, enlarge, isolate, dive into, sort, accentuate, etc. any element of our communication (digital asset) in order to increase the clarity we’re seeking. This is the near instant capability of DVL – and thus its power. This is what our course, Visual Supercharge, demonstrates through its nine episodes.
If clarity is a condition of readiness for action, and getting accurate objective, timely feedback is a condition for internal-external synchrony, then we can see effective action as the result of maximum possible clarity and thus optimal readiness.
Knowing as we do that literacy, clarity and connection are avenues of empowerment, we can pull derive some “common sense” about what’s needed for meaningful and effective change: 1) some degree of clarity (about what and how) as well as: 2) focused intention, 3) basic trust in the outcome 4) some identifiable effort, and 5) honesty about what’s going on. Without all five of these conditions, little meaningful progress will likely be made or sustained. To be sure, the right words by themselves won’t make it happen. Yes, this may look, sound, and feel abstract to you, but used as a diagnostic tool to gauge readiness for effective action regarding a specific situation, employing the kinds of questions suggested here will work dependably.
Let’s transition with some perspective about clarity that enables us to see it with even greater regard: Humans are clarity seeking beings because we’re fundamentally problem solvers, creators, inventors, learners, scientists, explorers, and often tragically, conquerors and exploiters. We wield our clarity to pursue our interests and make progress in every avenue of life. In this context, clarity is a key to power, as has been demonstrated in every age, by leaders and charlatans alike, promoting both the greatest of truths and most infamous of fictions. Without it, there is ultimately chaos, frustration and lack of desired results.