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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:32

"For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them."


This is the Hebrew word meshubah which means turning back, apostasy, faithless, waywardness. The clear idea here is that the person is making progress in doing what is right but then turns back to a selfish way of living.

Solomon says that this is the way of the naive person. They start down the path of everybody-wins, but they turn back from it and go after the I-win solution. They can't stay with the everybody-wins lifestyle; it takes too long and it feels too complicated and indirect. At some point they just revert back to "I need to look after number one." This sometimes “I want you to win and sometimes I want me to win” is what destroys them. People don't know which orientation they will find when they interact with this person.


This is the Hebrew word pethi which means naive, simple, open-minded. This is the person who does not understand or pursue the complex or subtle orientations of wisdom. They just want everything to be simple, easy, or straightforward.

This person understands the simpleness of “I want that, so I should go after that.” They do not understand “I win when I cause the right people around me to win.” That is too complex and so they turn back from pursuing the wins for others; they go back to just pursuing wins for themselves.

Once you have set out on the path of wisdom, your path to winning is much more indirect. You will win and gain what you want when the right people in your life win in the right way. It is complex but clearly true that if your spouse wins, you win; if your children win, you win; if your company wins, you win; if your church wins, you win.

Now let me just say that it does, at times, get very subtle and complex to help others win in the right way. It seems like you are losing in the short term which is what causes the naive to turn back. Don't turn back. If you want a great marriage, help your spouse win in a big way no matter how complex or subtle it becomes. If you want a great family, help your family members win. If you want a great company, help your colleagues win and the company wins in a big way. Now this does not mean that you cause yourself to lose in order for them to win; it is that you are looking for ways to benefit them that also allow you to win. Another naive game is to see winning in life as a zero-sum game. Either I win or they win but both cannot. This is wrong. Wisdom digs for the everybody-wins choice. It is there.


This is the Hebrew word harag which means to kill, slay, murder. People who begin acting like they have the other person's best interests at heart, gains trust, and then takes the selfish tact, kills the relationship with the other person more than the person who is selfish from the beginning. The naive person who switches to a selfish tact in the middle of a relationship causes a greater feeling of betrayal than the person who just is out for themselves from the start. This is why divorce hurts so bad. This is why business partnerships that go bad are so deeply hurtful. This is why teens that rebel are so deeply painful.


This is the Hebrew word salew which means quiet, ease, or prosperous. The idea in this case seems to be that the fool does not want to go to extra work, so they do not take the steps necessary to change the situation to an everybody-wins scenario. They just keep existing in the status quo. “It is just too much work to change, so I will keep doing what I have always been doing and hope for a different result.” They won't get it, but they will always hope.

In order to get a better result, you must enter better components. Some better things have to be added to the relationship in order to move the thing forward. This takes effort and the fool is disinclined to do that much work.

In other words, you have to love your spouse at a new level to change your marriage; you have to love your kids at a new level to change your family for the better; you have to do work at a new level or new effectiveness to change the company.

Realize that all of us see any changes as too much work. But if you do not change, then you will not get the result that you want. Be wise. Don't suffer the fate of the fool or the naive person. Strategize how to accomplish an everybody-wins philosophy in the key relationships of life.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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