The Domino Effect


Throughout history, dominoes have been used as a tool for making creative designs. Stacking dominoes in long lines can create interesting shapes, and they can also be played as games like “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Dominoes are rectangular blocks marked with two groups of spots–called pips–on each side. Usually, they are divided by a line in the middle to separate each end into two squares. Some have no spots at all.

The number of pips on each end determines the value of that end, from zero to six. The highest-value domino has six spots on each end, which is why it’s called a double-six set. Other sets have more pips, but the same number of spots on each end.

Your body is similar to a domino, because it transmits information as electrical impulses that travel through long bodies of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As these impulses move down a domino’s line, they can trigger many other dominoes to fall.

This phenomenon is known as the domino effect, and it’s a common theme in stories of storytelling. Think of every plot beat in a novel as a domino: one simple action can trigger a series of events that lead to much greater consequences.

Getting dominoes to fall can be as simple as pushing a button or as complicated as creating an intricate pattern. The key is to start small and keep the process going as you build momentum.

For example, when you’re trying to kick a bad habit, try to break it into smaller parts and work toward a goal. As you make progress, the domino effect will begin to kick in and help you stay focused.

The same is true of the domino effect in life: if you want to change something, you need to start small and build momentum. If you try to do too much at once, it can be overwhelming and you’ll give up before you’ve even started.

So to get started, choose a simple behavior that you’re excited about and try it out as often as possible. If you fail, don’t beat yourself up; just keep going!

You’ll be surprised at the power of your own habits! The more often you do it, the easier it is to stick with.

Using a ruler, measure the length of a domino (see photo below). Use masking tape to make a hinge that connects the back of the domino to the bottom of the ruler. Then wrap the tape around the ruler and the base of the hinge to secure it in place.

When the domino hits the ruler, it slows down as it slides against the ruler’s surface. This force is caused by friction, which slows down any moving object that makes contact with another object.

This slowing force is what helps dominoes to topple, just as a firing neuron slows down when it hits the nerve cell wall. It also makes the domino’s energy go farther, so it can knock down more dominoes.