The domino effect occurs when one event triggers a chain reaction of similar events. Writer and self-professed “professional troublemaker” Luvvie Ajayi encourages individuals who identify injustices to speak up and be the “first domino” to unleash a sequence of events that sparks a movement and foments positive social change. Be warned, however, that being the first domino may require enormous self-sacrifice. Do you have the courage to be a first domino? You may find the inspiration you need in Ajayi’s engaging, humorous address to budding troublemakers.
- Be the “first domino” to fall by taking a personal risk for the greater good.
- To effectuate lasting change, abandon your comfort zone and rally like-minded individuals to your cause.
- Before becoming a first domino, analyze the truth you wish to expose to ensure it is well-meaning.
Be the “first domino” to fall by taking a personal risk for the greater good.
If, like writer Luvvie Ajayi, you have always wanted to improve the world, consider being a first domino. The first domino to fall is the spark that ignites the chain reaction of falling dominoes that follows.
“Fear has a very concrete power of keeping us from doing and saying the things that are our purpose.”
Speak up about the changes needed to make the world a better place, even when it’s difficult or you’re afraid. You don’t have to be fearless. Being a first domino is scary, and speaking truth to power comes often comes at a price. But being the first to speak out will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
To effectuate lasting change, abandon your comfort zone and rally like-minded individuals to your cause.
Owning your purpose is difficult. Ajayi began blogging as a hobby in college after abandoning her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. However, it took her nine years and a stint of unemployment to recognize her purpose and proclaim herself a writer. In a year motivated by the mantra “do it anyway,” Ajayi embarked on a journey of self-improvement whereby she conquered her greatest fears: She vacationed solo, went zip-lining, swam with dolphins, tried skydiving and wrote her first book. Remaining within your comfort zone is easy. However, you can’t prompt change from a place of comfort. Comfort merely preserves convention. Speaking truth to power can feel like skydiving. You need to take a leap of faith with no safety net.
“Comfort is overrated, because being quiet is comfortable. Keeping things the way they’ve been is comfortable. And all comfort has done is maintain the status quo. So we’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
“Professional troublemakers” readily critique those in power. Above all, they value truth, integrity and justice. But society can’t expect professional troublemakers to be the only ones willing to be first dominoes. You, too, can find your voice and speak the truths that will beget change. Sometimes, perhaps unbeknown to yourself, you will rank among the most powerful individuals in a room. In those situations, you have a responsibility to fracture the status quo. When you feel you hold no power, band together with other like-minded individuals to amplify your voice.
Before becoming a first domino, analyze the truth you wish to expose to ensure it is well-meaning.
One time, Ajayi, a black woman, was invited to speak at a conference where the organizers asked her to pay for her own fare. She later discovered that the organizers reimbursed white male speakers at the conference for their travel expenses and paid them a stipend for their contribution and also paid for white female speakers’ travel costs. Although it took guts to speak out, “silence serves no one,” and by being the first domino, Ajayi ignited a conversation on discriminatory pay practices. Similarly, by being a first domino, Tarana Burke launched the #MeToo campaign.
“It is our job, it is our obligation, it is our duty to speak truth to power, to be the domino, not just when it’s difficult – especially when it’s difficult.”
When deciding whether to take the plunge and be a first domino, consider whether you mean what you say, whether you’re able to defend your words and whether your truth comes from a place of love. If so, you can be that first domino and ignite change. Speaking truth to power shouldn’t involve personal self-sacrifice, but it does. Nevertheless, exposing truths that move society toward a better common ground benefits everyone.
About the Speaker
Activist and writer Luvvie Ajayi is the author of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. She hosts the Rants and Randomness podcast.
This document is restricted to personal use only.