Hidden Traps to Success
The naive believes everything: but a wise man looks well to a matter. – Proverbs 14:15
Solomon reveals that a similar kind of trap in your personal or professional life can have
an equally devastating effect. What is the name of that hidden trap? Naiveté. And it can
ambush anyone, regardless of their intelligence, education, financial success, or personal
Naiveté and IQ
Naiveté has less to do with intelligence and more to do with the way a person approaches
individual situations and life in general. A naive person tends to oversimplify a situation
and thereby fails to see critical factors that may significantly affect an outcome.
Solomon describes a person as naive when he or she doesn’t “look well into a matter”
before choosing a course of action.
Oversimplification – In Proverbs 1:22, Solomon chides, “How long, O naive ones, will
you love simplicity?” Important decisions are never simple. Dig deeper.
Presumption In Proverbs 27:1, Solomon warns, “Do not boast about tomorrow for you
do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Misplaced Trust – We often put more trust than we should in people whom we don’t
know well. More often than not, people are less capable, less experienced, less competent,
and less honest than they seem to be. People always put their best foot forward, and we
usually make judgments of them in a matter of minutes or seconds.
Superficial Appearances – Our response to a person or a situation is often based entirely
upon appearances. A person may be charismatic or extremely personable, or a business
opportunity may appear extraordinary at first glance. But appearances almost never tell
enough of the story to base any important decision upon.
Laziness – Our natural inclination is to do as little as possible to get what we want. The
same is true in the decision-making process. “Looking well into a matter” requires a lot
more effort and creativity than simply accepting a statement or person at face value.
Haste – When we are in a hurry to make a decision, we will usually make it without
taking enough time to look into the matter thoroughly. In Proverbs 21:5, Solomon warns,
“But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”
Narrow Vision – More often than not, our vision is far too limited to make the best
decision based only on our own knowledge and experience. Solomon cautions in
Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they
Integrity – Honest people never think of lying, stealing, or defrauding someone of their
life savings. Such thoughts are so foreign to their character they can’t imagine anyone
else doing such things to them.
Greed – Wrong motives for making a decision can lead you to detrimental circumstances.
Arrogance – Arrogant people often think they’re smarter than everyone else. They don’t
feel they need to seek outside counsel or perform due diligence—they already know what
they need to know. Solomon said, “Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit
before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Wrong Priorities – Sometimes a person chooses not to look in depth into a matter before
making an important decision, because they don’t think due diligence is that important.
Diligence is like a giant floodlight: turn it on, and naiveté’s darkness disappears.
Look well into a matter before making any important decision. If a person is truly honest,
they will respect your thoroughness and welcome any due-diligence efforts you
Don’t Be Naive When It Comes to Making Wrong Choices
In Proverbs 22:3, Solomon warns us, “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But
the naive go on, and are punished for it.”
Most people rarely find themselves in unethical or illegal situations by surprise. Usually,
they see a red or yellow flag or two first. At that point, they have a choice. Solomon tells
us that a wise man will turn away. Those who are naive, however, see the red flag, feel a
twinge in their conscience, and then choose to keep moving in the same direction.
“There Is a Way That Seems Right . . .”
In Proverbs 14:12, he says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it
leads to death.” Diligently looking into a matter will ensure that doesn’t happen.
How to Make Wise Choices
Choose to Look Well into Matters.
Seek Outside Counsel – Over and over again in Proverbs, Solomon cautions us to seek
outside counsel. His advice is clear, his wisdom undeniable. Follow it.
Choose Your Friends and Associates Wisely – In Proverbs 13:20, Solomon writes, “He
that walks with wise men shall become wise. But a companion of fools shall be
But you should be careful about whom you partner with or attach yourself to in any
significant way. Look at a person’s wisdom and integrity. Be sensitive to any red flags
that would warn you of dishonesty. Look at what their priorities are and how they order
their lives. How do they treat their parents, spouse, siblings, or children? What do they
value most? Don’t let yourself become the companion of fools.
Being Prudent Is a Choice You Must Make Every Day
Being prudent is a decision that needs to be made every time you face an important
decision in any area of your life. Whether you are facing a business decision, a financial
decision, or a personal decision, choose first to “look well into the matter.”
“Who do you want to hitch your wagon to? Someone who HAS been paid, or someone who THINKS they will be paid?”
Joseph P. Tufo
CASH FLOW SPECIALISTS, INC.
Alamo California (San Francisco Bay Area)
925-522-0700 Direct 800-669-2700 USA Only
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