The Domino Effect – The Wonder of the Day

Dominoes are small, rectangular game pieces with anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. They’re used to play a variety of games and can be lined up in long rows for a more artistic effect. When the first domino is knocked over, it can trigger a chain reaction that brings down hundreds and sometimes thousands of other pieces. This is called the domino effect. It is also a metaphor for what can happen when one person makes a positive change in their life, and it’s contagious. It can affect the entire community, and it’s the inspiration for today’s Wonder of the Day.

Many of us have played with dominoes at one time or another. Children like to set them up in long lines and then knock them down. Adults often use them to create more intricate patterns that look impressive. When you’re done playing with them, the pieces are left behind in a pile called a boneyard or stockpile.

Hevesh’s mind-blowing creations are the result of her ability to visualize a design before she starts arranging dominoes. She follows a version of the engineering-design process, brainstorming images or words that she might want to use in an installation. Her largest designs take several nail-biting minutes to fall. When she’s done, Hevesh leaves the dominoes to tumble according to the laws of physics.

The first domino that falls triggers a chain reaction that can last several minutes and involves tens of thousands of individual dominoes. The second domino that hits that row of dominoes re-energizes those pieces by giving them kinetic energy (energy of motion). The energy in the remaining dominoes is transmitted to the next one, providing the push needed to knock it over. This continues, domino after domino, until all the pieces are gone.

When we try to make a positive change in our lives, the best way to do it is to start small and build up momentum. A new habit is most likely to stick if we make it a daily practice, similar to how the first domino falls and sets off a series of events that can be repeated.

Domino’s CEO Steve Doyle is a fan of the Domino Effect and uses it as a way to encourage employees at the company to think outside the box. He once asked Domino’s designers to create a pizza delivery car that looks more like a “cheese lover’s Batmobile” than a standard Chevrolet Spark, and they delivered.

The Domino Effect can be applied to any type of behavior that has a ripple effect. It can include a simple act of kindness or a consistent exercise routine. Admiral William H. McRaven once said, “The first step in starting a good habit is making your bed every morning.” Start a new behavior and watch how it grows over time, just like a single domino that falls and triggers a thousand others.