A domino is a small rectangular game piece with anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. It’s used in the popular game of dominoes, where players place one side of the domino against another, causing them to fall down like a trail of little bricks. The first domino to fall starts a chain reaction, knocking down hundreds or even thousands of other pieces in its path. This inspired the term Domino Effect, which refers to a similar phenomenon in life—when one positive change causes other changes.

Dominoes can be stood up to create artistic designs that look impressive when they’re knocked down. Lily Hevesh started playing with her grandparents’ classic 28-piece set when she was 9 years old, and she soon became obsessed. By 14, she had a YouTube channel where she shared her elaborate domino creations. She would create straight and curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and even 3-D structures.

Hevesh’s dominoes have to be carefully planned out so that the entire design is a cohesive whole. She draws out the design on paper, then tests each section to ensure that it works properly. This allows her to correct any mistakes before they happen. Once she’s happy with the results, she begins putting them together. She begins with the biggest 3-D sections first, then adds flat arrangements and finally the straight and curved lines.

She takes a similar approach to writing her novels. Before she starts drafting, she creates an outline, so that she knows what scenes are needed and where they’re going to occur. This allows her to write a story that makes sense and keeps the reader engaged.

While the Domino Effect is often used to describe physical chain reactions, it can also be applied to personal and professional development. For example, when Admiral William H. McRaven told University of Texas graduates to make their bed every day, he was encouraging them to build a habit that will lead to other changes. By making their bed each morning, they’ll feel a new sense of accomplishment and confidence, which will trickle down to other areas of their lives.

According to physicist Stephen Morris, when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy—or stored energy based on its position. As it falls, however, this energy is converted to kinetic energy and causes other dominoes to topple.

This principle is a useful way to think about how we live our lives and how we develop habits that help us succeed. For example, if you want to achieve a goal, find a coach who believes in your vision and can keep you on track until it becomes a reality. Then watch as your progress inspires other people to reach their own goals, resulting in a massive domino rally of positive change. This is what it means to be a Domino’s leader. You can learn more about how to be a domino leader by reading our Domino Effect eBook.