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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neal Nybo

Micro-Action 3: Snap that rubber band

Welcome to another excerpt from my workbook, Workplace Positivity.

Now that we have identified our negative tendency towards these thoughts and

words, it’s time for a practical way to catch them early and eventually eliminate them


I’m not into self-harm, but the rubber band trick is pretty handy.

Have you ever reached into the oven and caught a little bit of your wrist or arm

on something hot? I know from personal experience it doesn’t feel great. The next

time we reach into the oven, we’re a bit more tentative and attentive to what we’re


The rubber band works in sort of the same way. Grab a rubber band from your

desk drawer and put it around your wrist like a bracelet.

Here comes the painful part. Each time you catch yourself saying something

negative, snap that rubber band.

The quick pinch connects your mind with your body. It tells us the words exiting

our mouths are not in line with the new habits we are trying to form. Even looking

at the rubber band bracelet is often enough to remind us we are on a path to more


We’ve made a decision to stop saying negative words. We’ve geared up with our

trusty accountability partner and our snappy rubber band. But what do we do when

other people’s words and actions pull us back into the pit? We create an exit plan.


When is a rubber band worth $40 million? When it stops you from tweeting a

statement that gets you and your company fined that much money. Elon Musk tweeted

out that he was thinking of taking his company, Tesla, private. That led to fraud charges

by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk and Tesla paid $20 million apiece

as part of a fraud settlement and led to him resigning as chairman of Tesla’s board of

directors for the next three years.

I just wonder if Musk had a rubber band he could snap when he got impetuous ideas,

if he might have better outcomes in the long run.

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