This is the second in a post series on Dr. Henry Cloud’s excellent book: “9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life.” Read the post on “Thing 1: Dig It Up

Dr. Cloud summarizes this principle this way: Successful people do not hang on to bad stuff for long. While a positive attitude is a good thing, ignoring things that need to be addressed will prove to be a roadblock in your life. If the tooth needs pulling, don’t wait. Get ‘er done. Pull the tooth!

In this chapter, Dr. Cloud distinguishes between things that are not a big deal but not positively contributing to life and things that are truly negative.

Successful people do not hang on to bad stuff for long. - Dr. Henry Cloud Click To Tweet


Level one problems are not bad, just non-positive.

You have a limited amount of time and money. Why use it on things that don’t add to your life in some way. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth that, “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” — 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV). What are you spending time or money or emotional energy on that is not a positive contributor in your life, that is not helpful?

All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful.— 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) Click To Tweet

Are you spending too much on services you don’t need? How much would your life be affected if you dropped from hyper-blazing internet to super-fast internet in your home? Are there people you hang with or things you do that, while not bad in and of themselves, aren’t bringing you benefits or moving you forward in your life? Scan your spending of both time and money to look for things that don’t make a positive contribution. When you find them, let them go.

Pull the tooth!

Level Two Problems are things that are truly negative.

Successful people deal with negative things in a timely and straightforward manner. They face reality and deal with it. If the car is broken, it is fixed, towed to the mechanic, or sold. The car sitting in the driveway is an energy drain. Successful people know that it needs to be dealt with so their minds can move on.

In relationships — a primary part of our lives — this principle does not mean that we get rid of any relationships that have negative components. We wouldn’t have any friends! It may mean that we have to set boundaries. If a friend is an alcoholic who won’t deal with his problem, you may have to choose not to be around that friend when there is alcohol involved. In some cases, you may have to end relationships altogether.

The big question for something negative in your life is: Are you letting it sit there, or are you dealing with it?

Re: something negative in your life: Are you letting it sit there, or are you dealing with it? Click To Tweet

Face into your problems. Work with other people to work out your issues with them. If you can’t work them out, decide if it’s time for new boundaries or to let go of the relationship. If you are following principle #1 and spending time to Dig It Up, you will likely find things inside yourself that also need to be dealt with. Do what you need to do. Journal. Read a book. Talk to a friend. Talk to a pastor. Talk to a therapist.

Dr. Cloud has more in this chapter about

  • how to know when to let go of relationships and
  • following your instinct if you feel the “cringe factor” arise inside you.

If these blog posts resonate with you, I encourage you to read the book or listen to the audio book… even if you don’t use my affiliate link. I have found this book very helpful. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m finding it helpful again as I review it for these blog posts.

Peace to you,

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