November 2019
I was so struck a few days ago while reading an article that referenced "three kinds of people". I feel such mixed feelings whenever I read or hear comments like this. Yes - finally categories to file all of us away, in order to better understand our human complexities, of course. And, NO NO NO - please no more categories or oversimplified filing systems for humans "being". 
After I settled down a bit, I was able to really get into the material and find it very useful. I'm sharing some of the insights.

Clinical psychologist and best-selling author Henry Cloud helpfully points out in his book, Necessary Endings that there are essentially three kinds of people in life and leadership.

Essentially the difference between wise people and foolish people comes down to how they deal with truth.

Wise people encounter truth and change as a result. For example, after getting a speeding ticket, wise people learn and slow down. After being told their words hurt someone, a wise person will try to understand why, apologize and work hard not to do it again. They're open, not defensive, they learn and grow and tend not to make the mistakes over and over again.

Foolish people encounter truth and don't change. Instead, they try to adjust the truth so they don't have to adjust to it. Confronted with a problem, a foolish person will deny, blame, minimize, generate excuses and do anything in his or her power to avoid having to deal with reality. They don't learn and rarely grow. They tend to wreak a lot of havoc and cause damage in their own lives and the lives of others.
Foolish behavior means some broke people will always be broke, some chronic procrastinators will always be late and some people keep running into the same problems again and again. They may mean well, but their lack of learning means they keep making things hard for themselves and others. They provide great opportunities for us "helper" and "achiever" types to rescue.

Finally, as hard as it is to admit, some people really do evil things. They intend to harm you. They want to take you down. And as hard as it is to believe, they don't have your best interests at heart and want to see you fail. I found it hard to accept this early on in my life, leadership and ministry, but I've seen it often enough times over fifty years, to no longer dismiss it.
The sooner I accept that, the easier it becomes to make progress. I've been a CHRONIC false positivity clerk for most of my life. I have denied there was a "fire" even though I could smell and even see smoke many times. I denied that people are intentionally evil and affirmed they are all born pure, whole and complete and with "ENOUGH" love, care, listening, understanding, help, support and faith, would be transformed. By me, of course, and my noble intentions and actions.
What are the implications of this notion of three types? At some point in our lives, all of us behave wisely, foolishly and with evil intent. I say, NO exceptions. Let me count the ways, I have intended or wished evil intent outwardly and inwardly.
"I get less foolish by taking sane, sensible steps in a new direction."  
~ Martha Creek
I know I've spoken words that I intended to hurt, and when I do that, I'm acting in an evil or toxic way. And sometimes I make the same mistake over and over again, and when I do, that's foolish.
People who are generally wise sometimes do foolish and mean things too. The good news is that people do tend to change with time and actually grow.
Evil people may have a change of heart and start helping, not hurting, and when they do that, they can even become wise. Foolish people sometimes realize how much chaos and distress they create and decide to learn and grow.
Overall, most of us would have to admit that human beings hail primarily from one of those three categories at any moment in life: you're generally wise, foolish or evil in your approach to life.
"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true."  
~ Soren Kierkegaard
And that means, as much as you want to believe otherwise, and despite your advising, caring, loving, praying, paying, coaching and encouragement, fools often remain fools and evil people remain committed to harming others.
It sounds so judgmental and terrible and I resisted it for a long time too - and still do, to a certain extent. I've resisted it to my peril and to the peril of the people in my life.
Just because someone can change doesn't mean someone will change.
Foolish behaviors that are ultimately toxic to your life, relationships, well-being, and potential include:
  • People making the same mistakes over and over again, despite frequent attempts to help them and ample time to correct the problem and change. 
  • Self-absorption. 
  • Lying. 
  • Manipulation. 
  • An unwillingness to listen to feedback. 
  • Assigning blame. 
  • Refusing to accept responsibility. 
  • Not admitting when you're wrong. 
  • Playing the victim. 
  • Frequent anger. 
  • Hidden agendas. 
  • Gossip or malicious talk about other people. 
  • Ignoring boundaries. 
  • Passive-aggressive behavior (what happens to your face and what happens behind your back are very different).
Naturally, we all exhibit some of the behavior listed above some of the time (we're all human), but the wise realize what they did, correct course, change and grow.
The first place to look for wisdom, foolishness, and evil is the least comfortable place to look: in the mirror. When you see foolish behavior or bad intentions inside you, confess them and address them. Invite other people to give you feedback. Learn and grow.
I was in Unity Village for two consecutive weeks and spent some meaningful time in prayer and meditation. My biggest "message" from my quiet time was, "bear short term discomfort or deal with long term dysfunction". It seems it applies again here with looking at myself and the truth about humans "being". Here's to living, loving, learning and unlearning.
Richest blessings dear souls. Happy Thanksgiving and may all your evil tendencies be transformed, your foolish behaviors immediately uplifted to wisdom. May all your memories and reflections leave you feeling blessed.
Martha Creek

Martha Creek



"Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn-and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving."  
~ Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
"A man who trusts everyone is a fool and a man who trusts no one is a fool. We are all fools if we live long enough."  
~ Robert Jordan, author of Winter's Heart
"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."  
~ William Shakespeare
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