The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Small units

Sustainable learning and habit creation happens in small units. That’s how I describe my experience when I had to learn something complex. By concentrating on a part of the usually overwhelming whole I started to grasp one part after the other.

A drop of water constantly falling onto the same spot will carve a hole in a stone or build a stalactite. In a similar way, a steady learning based on small units transforms our ability to deal with complex systems.

This might be a reason for my interest in Transactional Analysis (TA). A transaction is a “fundamental unit of social intercourse” and a key to TA’s methodology.

A “transaction” builds on the existence of a relationship. It thus consists of a transactional stimulus followed by a transactional response. For example, when two or more people meet, sooner or later, one of them will acknowledge the other’s presence. This might happen through speaking or in a non-verbal fashion. Reacting to this, another person will either say or do something that can be understood as related to the stimulus.

A transaction is a very small unit and yet, it can mean the world to someone else. It is something we repeat every day in many ways. We smile at someone passing by, we say hello to someone we meet, we engage into a discussion with a colleague. It is up to us to do them with attention or without reflection.

The difference between both is impactful.

A meaningful smile enlightens the day.



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