Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Domino Effect

I sometimes just sit and think...and my mind wanders into areas I don’t tread daily because of time constraints and the daily shuffle of life. Usually a problem will warrant some contemplation, although not always my own, trying to solve them is becoming more of a pastime than I would like. I have found that the best solution to a problem is the one that averts the problem to begin with. Easier said than done, and certainly not a perfect process, it brings me some comfort to think my preventive measures have some bearing....or do they? Enter “The Domino Effect”...
   Every moment cascades down upon the next after it, and the one after that, and so forth. Within every moment are the decisions to be made that will determine the direction and speed of the next fall. Picture a room called life, with dominos upright in elegant, yet complex patterns. Perhaps you have set them up...or perhaps you have just happened upon them, it really doesn’t matter because should you tip one over, there is no guarantee that they will follow the complete pattern. What does matter is the decision on which one to tip. Avoidance isn’t an option unless you are going to leave the room...and most don’t want to leave the room before their time.
   Eventually you will tip one, either by accident...which would be caused by a decision to be in a certain place in the room at a certain time, or on purpose. Accidents happen and events occur that are not within our power to control...however, some events occur that are directly related to a choice we’ve made. We might be very pleased when we tip domino number five...but not so happy by the time domino number ninety-two falls. It almost sounds absurd to ask how we could have known domino ninety-two would fall since the pattern was laid out before us...but often we are so mesmerized by the pattern that we don’t look at the details of it. Sometimes we don’t see the problem until it falls right on top of us...and then, of course, it’s too late.

   Your decision to act today...or not, could be the direct catalyst for the good fortune that shines upon you down the road...or the cause of a future tragedy. It may sound extreme, but life is extremely unpredictable when we don’t take the time to study the pattern and predict it. Even when this is done, there is no absolute way to be certain of the findings until they are revealed by the hands of time.

   When you really stop to think about it, the Domino Effect can’t be avoided. All that can be done is a choice of which pattern to tip. Going with the probabilities is always a safer bet than hinging on the possibilities...even if the possibilities can never be ruled out.

   There are many examples of this in popular culture from books to movies, and although science-fiction takes it to an extreme, I think the point is illustrated well. I’ve examined my own life in this light...indeed, I continue to always examine the decision made right now in this light. Some have accused me of being a deliberate thinker, but I’m just cautiously picking which pattern I like...and which domino to tip.


  1. i don't know how to play domino but i willing to learn

  2. It's a pretty simple game...but the "Domino Effect" of life can be very complicated...:-)

  3. Hello. I would like to use the third image of the dominoes arranged in a circle and being pushed by the man in a textbook lesson on systems thinking. Please advise me about the permissions I need for this. Are you the owner of this work and may I have your permission.

    1. I am not the owner or creator of the image. It was in the public domain on the don't have an issue if you use it. If you plan on making a profit from the image, then I would research the image further.