Pour in the Good to Remove the Bad

Do you have any bad habits you’d really like to kick? I know I do. I would like to give up swearing. I’m disciplined when I’m in certain environments such as babysitting my niece and nephew, or during the recordings of my podcast and of course at church. However, if you place me in an environment such as public presentations, group fitness classes, among friends or family and I’m like a bat out of h*%!!…whoops…I mean I’m a little out of control…

Here’s another question, do you have any negative relationships with people who bring you down? Are there people in your life that suck the life out of you? I can definitely relate… so what are we to do about this? How do we remove these unwanted habits and/or people from our lives? The answer is displacement.


“What the heck is displacement?” I’m glad you asked. Displacement by definition is the moving of something from its place or position. It’s a shift.

I heard an awesome analogy about displacement when I was at Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference last year. Visualize a dirty glass after drinking a thick smoothie. Place the glass under the faucet and turn the water on. Let the water run non-stop and imagine what would happen. The result is, all of the smoothie residue would be removed and the glass would eventually become clear and clean.

I love the psychology that Wikipedia shares about displacement. It’s an unconscious defense mechanism whereby the mind substitutes either a new aim or a new object for goals felt in their original form to be dangerous or unacceptable.

Do you have habits or people in your life that are either dangerous and/or unacceptable? You may think that this definition is a little harsh, but I believe the long term effects of those habits and/or people could actually be a lot harsher.


First, you must identify what it is you want to remove. Once you’ve done that, you’ll now pour in the good. In other words, you’re going to replace the unwanted with the wanted. Here’s an example.

If you want to give up smoking cigarettes or give up snacking on candy at work. You would want to replace this with another positive habit. Instead of just giving it up and dropping it off at the curb. You would replace this action with a new action that’s either not harmful or may actually benefit you positively. So with this scenario, you could replace smoking with sucking on straws. The action would no longer be harmful. If you habitually snack on candy at work, you could replace the candy dish with a dish of almonds, or bring a little bag of carrots to work with you. This action would actually be positive nutritionally!

Let’s try another scenario. Let’s say you have a friend or relative that is super negative. They bring out the worst in you or leave you feeling worse about yourself. Instead of telling them to hit the road, (note that I would tend to use a shorter, more forceful phrase…yikes…) you’ll simply be too busy to connect with them because you’re going to “replace” them with new people. Is there someone you know, who after hanging around them, you feel better about yourself and better about life? Call them, text them or message them and start investing your time and effort into a relationship with them.


How will you implement displacement into your life? How will you pour in the good to remove the bad?