Crowding out the Bad

I have a list of things I’d like to eat every day. When I eat them, I have very little appetite left for junk. But when I start a day out with the vague and self-sabotaging notion that I’d like to avoid eating junk, I inevitably eat more poorly than I’d intended. I’ve noticed the same is true in many areas of life: if I try to avoid doing something, I set myself up for failure. If I am busy doing something else, I barely notice that I am not doing that on which I would have otherwise fixated. I’m not the first to have noticed this phenomenon, and if I were a halfway decent blogger, I would provide lots of profound historical quotes with imbedded hyperlinks and philosophical rabbit trails and back posts. But most assuredly, I am not a halfway decent blogger. It was a friend who recently recollected this principle and put it before me plainly: it is nearly impossible to avoid doing wrong when one attempts to avoid doing wrong. It is only when one is so inundated with—enraptured by—doing right that one evades the wrong. Tonight, another friend and I discussed some practical manifestations of this principle and ultimately christened with a catchy mantra to help us keep it at the fore: “crowding out the bad.” 

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