Dominoes

Did you ever play with dominoes as a child? Would you line them up carefully, creating delicate designs diligently, envisioning the chain reaction to be set in motion once you were done? Although you may have not, it was a pleasurable pastime of mine. My childish hands would cautiously place down a simple line, ten dominoes standing proudly in a row, and I’d be pleased that I had managed to avoid accidentally knocking it over before I had planned. It was better than a shiny new toy, I had the opportunity to create shapes and knock them over as I saw fit – and occasionally I’d throw a fit when I’d miscalculated and they failed to fall as I had anticipated.

Picture this: you’ve managed to stumble across a domino work of art. There are dominoes perfectly set up, spirals circling up and down stairs, they somehow loop in and around each other, there are countless shapes made with these stationary dominoes. As you try to follow them from beginning to end, to get a better idea of how much time and effort went into putting each piece into place, you notice that some of the dominoes are in different colors. You can’t help but marvel at that fact that countless hours must have gone in the construction of this convoluted creation. All this time must have been spent deliberating where to start and how to set up, tallying how many total dominoes would be needed to set this crazy contraption up, reminiscent of a ridiculous Rube Goldberg invention.
Suddenly, your line of sight is drawn to a sign that reads: Push Me. There is an arrow beneath the text, pointing at a domino easily within your reach. It’s so close to you, you need not do more than flick it with your finger if you chose to do so. You wonder how you could have missed the sign, but imagine it’s because you were distracted by trying to make sense of what you were seeing spread before you. What do you do?
Caving into temptation means you’ll set off a chain reaction that you can only hope will end well. It doesn’t have to, and odds are it could end disastrously for you. It could be a trap, it could very well lead to your own demise.
The alternative is of course to just walk away. Ignore the sign, and eventually we’ll forget that we ever saw it in the first place.
The view from above.

That’s the safe route, and what we tend to do every day. We stick to tried-and-true courses, we don’t veer from the beaten path because as we grow used to our habits and miss out on countless opportunities because we refuse to see the options spread before us. We back ourselves into corners and tell ourselves that our choices are merely between the lesser of two evils, or that we’re caught between a rock and a hard place and now just isn’t the right time for risk-taking.

The truth is there’s never a “right time” to make a choice that’ll lead our lives in a new direction. The misconception that we have is that we missed out on a right time in the past, and this precludes us from being able to make any change now. This is a lie we tell ourselves to buy us time to make excuses and prevent us from acting, but all we’re really doing is stalling in fear. Once we realize this, we can stop searching for signs or whatever it is we’re waiting for because we’ll see that the power to take action was ours all along, and as long as we have life we can continue to make the choice to act.