Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks used in many games. They’re known by different names, including bones, pieces, men, stones, and cards.
When I was a kid, I loved to play dominoes, and my grandmother had all kinds of different sets of the game. I would stack them up in long rows and knock them down one by one, trying to hit the center of each block. I’d always get excited when I was watching a single domino fall, but once I got my hands on a really big pack of them, I became fascinated by the way they tumbled together into intricate patterns.
Now that I’m an adult, I find dominoes to be a great metaphor for how to improve your health and habits. When you change one habit, it will set off a chain reaction and influence other behaviors, like eating less fat or making your bed every day.
You can apply this principle in your personal life by choosing the one thing you want to work on and focusing your efforts there. This is what I call the domino effect: When you focus on the right tasks, they will have a positive impact on other aspects of your life.
What’s more, the domino effect can be applied to any goal you have. If you focus your energy on a task that helps you get closer to a big goal, it will have a domino effect.
It’s the same concept that Eisenhower used when he was President: He was fighting communism, and the theory of the domino effect helped him explain why it was important to intervene in Vietnam instead of supporting French troops. In the same speech, he said that “if one domino falls, a series of others fall, too.”
The first step in the strategy is to pick the most important task for the day. This task should receive your full attention and energy until it’s completed.
By concentrating on that one task, Schwab was able to make an impact on his company and help it grow over time. It was this effort that helped Bethlehem Steel become the largest independent producer of steel in the world.
He also helped lead a campaign at the company that promoted self-awareness and accountability, using unflinching honesty to refocus on its weaknesses. The company was trying to make a clean break from its past and start again.
In 2009, it launched a new marketing campaign that was designed to modernize its image and create a sense of style that would complement its pizza. The campaign was led by the company’s then-president of USA operations, J. Patrick Doyle, and it was accompanied by a video that read scathing critiques of the company’s pizza and its failures.
As the story of Jennifer Dukes Lee illustrates, the domino effect is a powerful tool to create a cascade of changes in your life. When you start a new habit, it not only activates a series of other habits but can even alter your beliefs about yourself.