"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death"
This verse is exactly the same as the verse in Proverbs 14:12, so I have repeated the comments that I made on that section.
In this section the context is about the impulses to do good and wise things. And Solomon feels the need to add this verse about the basic impulse that feels good but is the wrong road. Don't let your feelings determine whether something is the right thing to do or not. In Proverbs 14:12 the section deals much more with impulses to wickedness and destructive tendencies. Solomon is there pointing out that in every person there is an internal impulse that will lead you astray. Don't trust it.
there is a way
There are all kinds of ways of living life. The particular way that Solomon wants to focus on is the way which seems right or has the right feel to the individual. He is, of course, pointing out the fool’s way of living life. "What do I want to do?" "What seems right to me?" This absorption on that which the individual desires or wants is the fool’s quest. It would seem to make sense. How do you get what you always wanted? Go after what you want at every opportunity. The problem is that this logical pursuit does not accomplish the desired result.
How do you make sure that you have what you always wanted? Live a wise life of meeting the needs of others and making sure that they win. Zig Ziglar states it this way, "You can get everything you want if you help enough people get what they want!!!"
the way of death
The way of death is that place of alienation and separation. Death is not the cessation of existence, but instead it is the separation of the soul from the body when the internal operating system and all its files are uploaded from one body left alone and judged.
The way of death has an ominous sound, and it is tragic when people think they are choosing to go after all that they will need and want. Instead they are choosing to follow after an end result that they would not choose.
Selfishness does not end up with other people loving you or having to pay attention to you but instead with alienation, loneliness, distance, judgment, etc.
Ask yourself if the decision you are about to make is on the pathway of selfishness or if it is on the pathway to life and connectedness. If the only people who will benefit by what you are going to do is yourself, then you are on the pathway to death. Get off quickly and make new choices.
You never have to stay on a particular track or remain committed to a direction that is wrong-headed.
I have watched many a married person think that what they always wanted was outside their marriage through adultery or a new partner. It is often only later that they realize that they are in the way of death.
I have watched parents allow their children to get their own way and just ignore behavior that is clearly wrong or selfish. Then they wonder why they only have grief from those children who constantly go their own way.
I have watched people at work push for what they want – in spite of the fact that it causes many around them to lose – only to find too late that they have become the despised one at work.
I have watched communities become selfish through luring business, legalizing gambling, and shady deals with developers. Only too late do they find out the results of those deals and damage to the community as a whole as they alienate good business who did not get all those incentives.