The below post is an answer I gave to a question asked of me on the site "Quora." I have republished it here. You can find the original answer at: https://www.quora.com/profile/Parker-Zurbuch/answers
By making different, and “Virtuous” choices. (I will explain)
Now, the above request can be hard to fulfill, especially if one is stuck in habitual or addictive routines. In order to break out of those undesired routines, one must then build up enough self-control (by resisting the urge of those bad habits/routines) to actually make a determined choice.
A big problem that we have as humans is that, the more we solely follow our desires, the less free we become. Self-restraint is a necessary condition for choice, because if one cannot restrain their desires, they will be a slave to them—and slaves are not free to make choices.
This does not mean that our desires are bad. It just means that they are often not in accord with truth and reality. Why do I eat lots of chocolate cake when I know that it is not healthy for me? Because I have become a slave to my desire for chocolate cake. Is my desire for chocolate cake bad? No. But, my unrestrained desire for chocolate cake is bad.
Why is it bad? Because if I gorge myself on chocolate cake consistently, I will develop many problems which can lead to—eventually—my death. Why is death bad? Because we know that our present existence is good. Why is our present existence good? Because we know that existence itself is good, and goodness is precisely something that is existing to its full capacity. So why is death viewed as bad? Because we often view it as the end of our existence. But despite whether it is the end of our existence or not, it is universally excepted as bad to die from a clearly preventable disorder—like having eaten way too much chocolate cake. Why is this cause of death universally accepted as not good? Because we know that when a person has become a slave to their desires, that they are not existing to their full capacity. What is the full capacity of human existence? To be able to know and choose that which is best at all times: aka. Virtue.
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