Have you ever played with dominoes? Among other things, you probably also lined them up and then demonstrated the domino effect. You knocked down the first domino and then this one knocked down the next one and so on. It's always been fascinating to me, but what about you?
Let’s look at this effect in more detail. Did you know that the first domino can knock down the second, which is 1.5 times bigger? Imagine placing a row of dominoes, where each succeeding one is 1.5 times larger than the previous one. Take 13 dominoes, the first being 5 mm large, 2.5 mm wide and one mm thick, and the last one 1 m in size and weighing almost 50 kilograms. Push the first "micro" domino and you get a loud BOOM at the end. You can watch this experiment on YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y97rBdSYbkg The experiment shows us how small activity can establish a momentum and bring great results. Let’s look at this application in two important areas of our life.
1. Building new habits
A small activity that you do regularly every day will bring you much greater results than a big one that you do once a week. Regular morning stretching and exercise (say 5 minutes) will give you better results than 60 minutes of exercise once a week. In addition to being much more likely to exercise for 5 minutes than for an hour, you will soon develop a new habit as well. In addition, when you change one behavior, it will activate a chain reaction and affect your other behaviors as well. If we start with big goals or large projects, we can start postponing them till tomorrow.
Take advantage of the power of small steps and the domino effect. Certain interventions and
strategies that I have described in the book Successful Under Pressure: Proven Techniques for Relieving Stress and Increasing Resilience are like the micro dominoes mentioned above. You can do them in 2-3 minutes. When you start practicing them, you get a momentum that can lead to a new habit. The result? All of a sudden you are more resilient, strong, confident and ready for bigger challenges.
2. Set a big goal
The following domino learning insight is related to goals. Did you watch the video? If you did, then you’ve heard that if you had 29 dominoes, the last one would be as big as the famous Empire State Building in New York City (380m). But we would knock it down with the first micro domino. Set a big goal and then start with a micro step, a micro activity. Help yourself with the WOOP technique (more about the technique in the book Successful Under Pressure). If you don’t break down a big goal into smaller manageable steps (dominoes), you’re much more likely to procrastinate. A big goal
can be too much work. Imagine you have to demolish the Emipre State Building!
In my case, the big goal was to write a book. I am sure you will agree this is a big goal. Aware of this, I applied the domino effect principle. I divided it into small daily activities - my micro dominoes. My micro domino was at least half an hour of writing five times a week. That's a manageable goal, isn't it? I didn’t bother with what was written, but it was crucial that I sit down and write for at least half an hour. Sometimes I wrote just few lines during that time, but often I wrote for hours.
The result is the book Successful Under Pressure. Set your big goal for the coming year 2022! Then define micro dominoes - intermediate goals or even better manageable activities. Start or roll over the first domino and repeat over and over.
What will be your next big goal? What will be your first domino with which you will trigger a chain reaction and end up "breaking down" your desired goal? To great success!