Teen Space

The Dominoes Game

Falling black dominoes about to hit red domino
Photo: © Konstantin Faraktinov / 123RF Stock Photo

When my 13-year-old nephew asked his dad for a set of 1200 dominoes I was surprised. Well, in my several decades of life I hadn’t made the time to play much with dominoes. I discuss the Domino Effect often and we speak of Domino’s cheese burst pizza frequently! But this teenager really opened my eyes to dominoes. You see, dominoes aren’t pieces of plastic that you randomly arrange and then knock one and the rest fall, and we have a great time watching this happen. Here are some domino truths:

  • You set up your own dominoes; it’s an individual game.
  • You can move your dominoes; they are not set in stone.
  • Each and every domino matters; it’s not just the final one.
  • It’s a spiralling process of one thing leading to another.
  • A positive spiral of course helps knock down the final domino.
  • The last domino may not fall; yet you learn from the process.

How then do dominoes relate to life and what lessons can we learn from them?

If you pick one right thing to do that cues another accomplishment, you feel inspired to do something more that gets you to an even better space. It sets a positive feedback cycle wherein there is a cascading effect of constructive outcomes. You feel like you had a shower of good fortune: one good thing happening after another. Something we technically call the Domino Effect. Small, simple things like waking up on time, packing your bag, making it to the bus stop, reaching class comfortably, submitting your homework, focusing on the subject, answering questions, having the teacher or professor appreciate you, being selected hence for the competitive exam, and getting a positive appraisal for being a diligent student. Everything on a smooth track — one good occurrence assuring that the next event would go even better.

But there are also those days you feel the sun rose from the west. Or you got off the wrong side of the bed. The day the alarm didn’t ring and you woke late. Barely packed your bag right, missed the bus and hence had to make alternate travel arrangements; had the teacher glare at you and that made you nervous so you fumbled at the question and got a poor performance grading. One bad thing happened, thus assuring that the next event is even worse and the day appears to be the worst ever.

The same knowledge of dominoes tells us that we started wrong and everything hence went wrong. But there’s a way to manage this sequence at several steps. The same dominoes rules apply as above:

  • This is about you; you need to wake on time by yourself.
  • Waking late does not mean the whole day had to mess up.

Read the full article by subscribing to the print magazine or the digital edition.

>> More articles

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.