This is ground zero. TOTLA. I didn’t know what it meant several years ago when it popped into my head. I’ve tried to force several ideas into what it ‘might’ become since then, but it wasn’t until The Transaction sprung to life on a cross-state road trip to Spokane Washington that the answer emerged. Four hours of non-stop brain-storming and an idea was birthed, a fable was formed.
The ‘lost art’ I refer to is service and suddenly everywhere I go I am seeing service in absentia. It is indeed lost. It might be lost at the hands of a rudderless small business with no clear understanding of customer service. Or it might be disguised as an ill-advised dictate from corporate as part of the mission statement or an element of a culture the higher-ups want to sell to uncritical customers. But it lacks authenticity, all the same, and is frequently uninspired. It isn’t service. It is scripted (aka forced) interaction.
It is plagiarism of the human spirit.
We have all been in checkout lines where the cashier asks, ‘Did you find everything you need?’ It is a hollow question which may provide a conversation starter, but in the end a smile would likely accomplish just as much, or more. There is rarely any attempt at connection. ‘Thank you, Mr. Jones [cashier reading off receipt]. Have a nice day.’
The simple point of The Transaction is the exchange between people that takes place at a more authentic level, with the possibility of a deeper connection. It need not be reserved for family and friends or special occasions. It can, and should, take place every day, with every opportunity that comes along.
John Gottman, the relationship expert, says:
“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.”
It needn’t be limited to marriages and partnerships. Nor should it be expected to thrive only in churches or societies or organizations where their core beliefs require it as a common condition of membership.
Being in service to your neighbor, your partner, your customers, your community or your planet is equally beneficial no matter what the setting. And requires very little effort or sacrifice.
This story, The Transaction in Action, is about what happened after the seven coins in The Transaction were passed out. Two years later, we see the impact the coins, and the actions connected with them, had on those involved and what affect it had on the community.
Life is a coin… You can only spend it once.