The Domino Effect

Domino is the term for a piece of playing equipment that has the shape of a square or rectangle with flat ends and numbered dots, usually black or white. The pieces can be placed end-to-end to form a long chain of dominoes. One must place each domino so that the exposed ends of the two matching sides touch each other, either adjacent or perpendicular to one another. When a domino is played that results in all the other pieces on a chain to be touching at both of their exposed ends, it is said to be “stitched up.”

A domino set typically contains 28 unique pieces. A traditional domino set has one domino for each combination of two different ends, from zero to six spots (the highest-value pieces are called double sixes). The most common material for modern domino sets is plastic, but they may also be made of bone, ivory, marble, a dark hardwood such as ebony, woods with contrasting colors (including redwood and oak), or metal.

Many people use dominoes to play games such as poker, backgammon, and solitaire. Others enjoy lining them up in long lines and then knocking them over. A long line of dominoes can create a beautiful display. Artists have used dominoes to make art installations. For example, in 2009, artist Salima Peippo built an enormous sculpture of a domino out of steel and concrete in Berlin, Germany to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

One of the most popular uses of the term is in reference to a series of events that has dramatic and sometimes catastrophic consequences. This concept is known as the domino effect.

It is important to consider the impact of a particular action before you commit it. For example, if you are planning to break up your marriage, this decision could have serious legal and social repercussions that could influence many other aspects of your life.

Similarly, when you start a new project, it is best to make sure that you are prepared for any unexpected challenges or problems. This will prevent you from making a mistake that could have a domino effect and cause you to stop or rethink your plan.

Dominoes are also a good metaphor for writing. If you write by the seat of your pants (that is, you do not outline or use software such as Scrivener to help you plot), then you will likely find that your scenes are insufficiently connected and do not advance the story in a logical way. Each scene is like a domino that might not knock over the next one, but when you add up all of the scenes, they can have a huge and disastrous effect.

Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, it is helpful to think of the many ways that your actions can have the same kind of domino effect in other people’s lives. Having a positive attitude can help you maintain your composure and overcome obstacles.