One of the most evocative images in the world is the chain reaction that occurs when you knock down a domino. That’s a phenomenon called the domino effect, and it helps us understand how to focus our energy on the right activities for success.
Dominos are a popular form of gaming, based on small black and white rectangular blocks with white dots on each side. They’re also known by a variety of other names: bones, tickets, tiles, spinners, and stones.
When you put dominoes in a straight or curved line, they’ll fall, one after another, until they’re all down. That’s why they’re a staple of many family games and events.
In a domino game, players draw a certain number of tiles, then play the ones they hold to score points. The first player to place a domino on the board wins.
The first domino can take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but once it’s down, all it takes is a tiny nudge from the bottom to push it further. That nudge, according to one expert on the domino effect, is “gravity.”
Gravity is an amazing physical force that works to make the chain of dominoes possible. It pulls a domino toward Earth, allowing it to crash into the next domino and send it tumbling down its own path of travel.
Once a domino is down, its potential energy converts into kinetic energy, the energy of motion (see Converting Energy). It then passes some of that potential energy on to the next domino and continues traveling until it’s knocked over as well.
It’s a fascinating science, and Hevesh says it’s what makes her mind-blowing displays possible. She’s made installations with up to 300,000 dominoes. She’s even helped set a Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement: 76,017!
Hevesh says she starts with a specific theme or purpose for her installation. She brainstorms ideas, then follows an engineering-design process to plan out the design.
After her design is finalized, she goes through a series of tests to make sure all the pieces work together correctly. She films the tests in slow motion to spot any problems and correct them before she puts the entire installation together.
Her biggest installations use a lot of space, so she has to work with large sets of dominoes and carefully coordinate each piece in the display. She uses a special technique to make sure each piece in the arrangement is perfectly aligned.
She also takes into account variations in weight, size, and surface texture. The biggest sections go up first, then she adds flat arrangements and lines of dominoes that connect the different parts together.
This technique is an excellent way to prioritize your stream of ideas and keep the most important things front of mind as you’re working on them. It can also help you break down big tasks into manageable chunks that will give you a sense of accomplishment before you start the next task. It’s also a good strategy for getting things done when you don’t have a lot of time.