Dominoes are a variant of the game of playing cards. Like the cards, dominoes have identifying marks on one side and blank or identically patterned faces on the other. However, unlike cards, they do not have any military or civilian suit distinctions. They are referred to by the number of dots (or “pips”) on each end; a tile with two pips on one end and five on the other is referred to as a “2-5”, while a tile with six pips on both ends is called a “6-6”.
The most common domino games in the West consist of the standard or “Block” game and the Draw game. Both of these are played with the standard domino set comprising 28 tiles.
In both games, players are given two turns and may play a tile to any other player’s domino. Each player must place the tile so that both matching ends are adjacent and perpendicular to the last played tile. This is a simple design and does not allow for a lot of variety in layouts. If space or whim forces a different arrangement, the tile must be placed vertically or diagonally in order to form an open end.
According to physicist Stephen Morris, the way dominoes fall depends on their position against gravity. Standing them upright, they store potential energy. But as they fall, much of that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.
This energy is released in a series of small jumps that eventually result in the domino falling over. This is a concept known as the “domino effect” and it can be applied to a variety of business scenarios.
The chain of events that results from a single action is what makes the domino effect such a powerful idea. It was a popular metaphor during the Cold War for why America should not support communism in Southeast Asia, but it can be applied to a variety of other situations as well.
For example, a 2012 study by researchers at Northwestern University found that when people decreased their amount of sedentary leisure time, they also reduced their daily fat intake. This prompted them to adopt healthier habits as a natural consequence.
In the same way, the domino effect can be used to help you achieve a goal that’s more important than just yourself. Rather than trying to tackle all of your goals at once, you should instead focus on one task that is most important.
You should then prioritize and complete that task until it’s done. Once you’ve finished that, you can then move onto the next most important task. This is a strategy that helped Charles Schwab, the CEO of Bethlehem Steel, accomplish his goals while reducing stress at work and increasing his profits by 30% in five years.
Ivy Lee, a personal trainer and business coach at Northwestern University, taught Schwab this approach to achieving his goals. She would assign him one of his most important tasks to work on each day, and Schwab would only be able to focus on that task until it was completed. This paired with a regular follow-up meeting allowed him to track his progress and ensure he was on target. Using this strategy Schwab’s company became the largest independent producer of steel in the world.