This series of blog posts will cover Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Nine Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life.” It’s a book I’ve read/listened to more than once. I’ve found it helpful so I’m offering these blog posts to you. If you find these helpful, consider reading or listening to the entire book. It’s well-written and accessible, with plenty of anecdotes.

In his years of dealing with people of varying degrees of success, psychologist and author, Dr. Henry Cloud, writes that he has noticed nine ways of dealing with self and life that “successful” people appear to have in common.

Note well that Dr. Cloud does not define success in terms of wealth or status. His definition of “success” rests on the way people’s lives are lived. Are they fulfilled? Are they peaceful? Is their life moving in a direction that they want it to move?


In summary, this principle recognizes that the outer life arises from the inner life. Successful people take the time and effort to dig inside themselves. They find and own their own dreams, desires, talents and other treasures of the soul. And they honor them.

This doesn’t mean dropping your responsibilities and rushing off half-cocked to fulfill your dreams right now.


There is a time and place for postponing some of the desires of your heart in order to fulfill other important priorities. Most parents end up doing this to one degree or another. I certainly have. Even though I am not doing some of the things I hope to get to, my priorities are clear and I sleep well at night when I have made my family a top priority.

But not everything buried inside you is treasure!

When you dig inside, you will find some things that aren’t so pleasant. Some people find anger, resentment, jealousy, greed, inability to handle conflict constructively, etc. Just like you’ve got to dig up the treasure, you’ve got to dig up the trash, too. And deal with it (but that’s the next blog post).

You have to dig up the unpleasant things because those are often the things that are unconsciously keeping you from success in life. They are like viruses in your emotional and intellectual computer, undermining your life without letting their presence be overtly known. Bitterness, for instance, can become such a part of your life that it’s like water to a fish. It just seems like the way it is. Except that it doesn’t have to be that way.

This is my additional hint with regard to digging it up: You can’t choose what to dig up. If you are going to dig, be prepared for treasure and trash. You can’t just look for the dreams and talents while selectively avoiding the painful things you find. It is literally impossible to be honest with yourself about the positive things buried inside you and dishonest with yourself about the negative things buried inside you. You are not the stuff you find. You are you. Love and accept yourself. Open up to your inner life. Embrace the treasure and take out the trash.

Love and accept yourself. Open up to your inner life. Embrace the treasure and take out the trash. Click To Tweet

You might need someone to walk with you through digging it up, like a therapist, friend or coach. Meditation can help. journaling can be productive (though I’ve never been able to keep a consistent habit of journaling). Regardless of how you go about it, if you want to be successful in a real, deep, and true sense, you’ve got to get inside yourself.

The book of Proverbs puts it like this: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV) Click To Tweet

You’ve just got to dig it all up.

Grab your shovel!

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