The Domino Effect

A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, about thumb size, that has a face with either blanks or dots resembling those on dice. 28 such tiles make up a complete set of dominoes. Dominoes are used to play games by matching the ends of tiles and laying them down in lines or angular patterns. The term Domino can also refer to:

The word domino is Latin for fall, and it was from this etymology that the word came to mean “a chain reaction.” The term domino effect describes how one simple action can create waves that impact an entire system.

When Hevesh makes her mind-blowing domino setups, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. First, she considers the theme or purpose of the installation. Then, she brainstorms images or words that might be appropriate to the theme.

After that, she sketches a rough draft of the layout. Next, she tests different versions of each section to see how they work individually. Once she has a clear picture of the final domino effect, she sets to work putting together all the individual elements.

Hevesh often uses three-dimensional sections to add depth and interest to a display. She always makes sure each of these sections works as intended before she starts assembling the whole arrangement.

When Hevesh finally nudges the first domino past its tipping point, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This kinetic energy is transmitted to the next domino, providing the push it needs to fall. This continues on down the line until all the dominoes have fallen.

The lesson to be learned from the domino effect is that momentum is essential. If you don’t have it, it can take a long time to achieve a goal. The key is to build momentum by starting with one small action and then maintaining that momentum as it cascades into more and more behaviors.

Changing habits is a great example of the Domino Effect. When Jennifer Dukes Lee started making her bed each day, she didn’t think of it as anything more than a small victory. But, over time, her commitment to this new behavior became the dominant influence on other areas of her life.

For authors, the domino effect is especially powerful when it comes to plotting. Whether you compose your novel off the cuff or take your time with a careful outline, every plot beat is like a domino. Regardless of how many dominoes you have to knock over, they all must fall in the right sequence to be effective.

The next time you start a project, think of the biggest dominoes you need to get in place before you can even consider taking the first step. By focusing on the most important tasks and then pushing them over, you can build up your confidence as you move towards your goals. And remember, a single small victory can make all the difference.