The Domino Effect

Domino is a game of stacking clay or plastic dominoes on their edges and then arranging them side to side so that one can be tipped over, which in turn causes the next to tip over, and so on. It can lead to very intricate and complicated arrangements. It’s also the basis for a phrase that refers to a chain reaction: the domino effect.

The name derives from the Latin word dominium, meaning “flip over.” The game is popular with children, but many adults enjoy playing it as well. It is also used as a teaching tool to demonstrate the concept of probability.

In addition to the traditional set with 28 tiles, there are extended sets that increase the maximum number of pips on an end from three to five. This allows players to play a wider variety of games.

Most players use dominoes to create patterns and lines that form pictures, arcs, or 3D structures. Others use them to make a map of the world or the United States or to create a timeline of significant events in history.

Some players also create domino art that resembles architecture or landscapes. This may be as simple as straight lines that zigzag across the board or complex designs that include curved lines, grids that create pictures, stacked walls, or even pyramids. The best designs often require careful planning.

A domino can also be a metaphor for personal and professional change. The act of pushing over the first domino is like a decision to commit to new behaviors that will lead to greater success in your life. The subsequent domino effect is similar to a ripple in a pond that can spread far and wide.

Whether you’re a student learning to plan for the future or an entrepreneur seeking to launch a new business, domino can help you see how one small action can lead to big results. In business, this principle is called the domino effect, and it’s why we often hear of companies that grow quickly because of one key decision.

When you consider how much energy it takes to push over a single domino, it’s not surprising that the force of gravity is critical to a successful domino setup. A physicist, Stephen Morris, says that when you set up a domino, the weight of the clay or plastic helps to hold it upright. This gives the domino potential energy, or the energy that it can store based on its position. But once you knock it over, most of that potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion.

When that kinetic energy flows through the domino chain, it’s like a firing neuron in your body that sends a message down its length without losing any of its energy. It’s a principle that’s often applied to personal and professional change, from the domino effect of committing to daily habits like making your bed or brushing your teeth to the domino effect of changing your beliefs and attitudes.