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Who Is A Fool?

Updated on March 7, 2012

How does one answer the question, "Who is a fool?"

A fool is defined in the dictionary as one lacking in judgment or prudence.

According to the Bible, fools despise wisdom and instruction, reject knowledge, meddle, engage in idle talk and walk in darkness.

In his book, "How To Stop Worrying And Start Living," Dale Carnegie wrote a chapter titled, "Fool Things I Have Done." He kept a folder (labeled FTD) in a file cabinet containing written records of the foolish things he was guilty of. He admits if he had been honest with himself his cabinet would be bursting at the seams with FTD memos.

Mr. Carnegie's purpose of maintaining this file was to review the folder on a consistent basis in order to deal with his toughest problem: the management of Dale Carnegie.

He then suggests that his readers keep a record of the fool things they have done and to criticize themselves on a periodic basis.

Perhaps an FTD folder would list those who engage in foolish behavior as having done one or more of the following:

-Seek compliments in an attempt to gain human approval; ("Flatterers are the cleverist of all mind readers -they tell us exactly what we think" - Robert Surtees).

-Thrive on sympathy while doing nothing to help themselves;

-Procrastinate until a good opportunity is lost forever;

-Say "yes" to anything asked of them, for fear of not being liked;

-Speak their minds at the expense of hurting others;

-Talk constantly about themselves and complain about their problems no matter how small or insignificant;

-Demean others in order to feel better about themselves;

-Ignore their family while doing things for others;

-Neglect their bodies, allowing their immune system to break down;

-Waste valuable time due to the habit of laziness;

Though difficult to admit, I've done most of the above at different intervals during the course of my life. As a result, often I have been put in my place. Over the years I have received a firm education in the art of getting along with others.

Here are a few important lessons I have learned from my foolishness:

-I've learned that to confess, "I was wrong, please forgive me for being foolish" is an act of courage and wisdom.

-I've learned that as long as I'm alive I'll continue to go through seasons of foolishness. This is okay, for experience is my greatest teacher.

-I've learned that perfectionists are fools to believe they or anyone else can be perfect.

-Most important, I've discovered I'm not the only fool on this earth.

Reading about the foolish behavior of others has been a positive source of encouragement to me.

For example:

-Einstein said he was wrong ninety nine percent of the time;

-Benjamin Franklin listed his serious faults and spent weeks at a time battling his shortcomings;

-Napoleon Bonaparte said at St. Helena, "No one but myself can be blamed for my fall. I have been my own greatest enemy - the cause of my own disastrous fate."

-King Saul said, "Behold, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly."

So, who is a fool?

Carl Sandburg wrote, "To never see a fool, you lock yourself in your room and smash the looking glass."

I personally believe that those who repeat the same negative behavior, who never learn, and refuse to admit they are wrong - these are the "fools that grow without watering." -Thomas Fuller

However, those who admit they are a fool have learned the secret of happiness, for this is the first step to becoming wise.

Sincerely, Blessings to all, Sparklea :)


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      That's the smart thniking we could all benefit from.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      sarahsure u can u r more than welcomed, it is even much cdoelr in Irbed, a snow came and skipped my little village:Dbut we still have winds, cold and rain

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      silverstararrow: THANK YOU for visiting this hub and for your feedback. I so appreciate your taking the time to read it. Blessings always, Sparklea :)

    • silverstararrow profile image


      7 years ago from India

      This is an interesting hub which compelled me to realise that everyone can be foolish at some point in time only to realise his mistakes and learn from them. Loved the quotes and the Bible references. :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Sky9106: Thank you for reading my hub and for your comments, means alot to me. God bless you real good, Sparklea :)

    • Sky9106 profile image


      7 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      A beautiful Hub. It had me thinking about the many places it's written in the Bible and in reference to what ? I love the Bible references for that's where I get the best understand.

      Great piece.


    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Seeker7, I am so touched by your positive comments! THANK YOU from my heart! Like I said in my hub, I have made SO MANY mistakes. Thank you for your positive votes also. In my opinion, comments are so important to encourage all hubbers. I look forward to reading your hubs, Seeker7! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a fabulous hub! Everyone of us who will admit to being foolish - at least some times - must get comfort out of this hub! I do 'procrastinate' at times, and have lost good opportunities. I have been guilty of saying 'yes' in order to be liked - especially when I was younger! It's wonderful to know that great minds such as Einstein and King Saul also felt foolish at times.

      I loved this hub! Voted up + awesome + interesting!

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Badegg: Yes, I am very familiar with the verse in Proverbs about a dog returning to his vomit, and the fool repeating his folly. Hopefully God will bring our foolishness to our attention through our conscience to give us the opportunity to repent, and, hopefully, correct the mistake and not repeat it. That is my prayer. It is a lifetime journey! So much appreciate hearing from you. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      THE LAST BABY BOOMER: THANK YOU for your comments. The only perfect person is Jesus Christ Himself. The good news is that when we are foolish, we can ask His forgiveness and it comes in a flash through the grace of God. I praise God for His Mercy!

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      I feel so convicted after reading this hub. You have hit the nail right on the head. We mustn't forget Proverbs: "Just as a dog returns to his own vomit, so does a fool repeat his folly."

      I even caught myself committing foolish thoughts while reading it, thinking "Well I know someone that does that one..."

      Very good, Sparklea. Keep 'em coming!

    • TheLastBabyBoomer profile image

      Deborah Turner 

      7 years ago from Surprise Arizona

      Enjoyable hub! Loved the lesson and truthfulness. Yes, we have all had our moments haven't we? Looking forward to reading more of your hubs tonight! Thanks.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you glmclendon! It is my purpose to inspire readers, as I have been inspired by so many hubs. Yours are so spiritual, genuine, and from the heart. Thank you for taking the time to read my material. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • glmclendon profile image


      7 years ago

      Good, good, good. Once again you hit a home run. You are such an interesting person.

      Stay well

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Teacherjoe52: THANK YOU for your comments Love the banana and pen story! I so much appreciate your thoughts, and thank you for taking the time to read my hub.

      Blessings always, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Michelle Travis: Your statement, If you never do anything nothing will ever happen is SO TRUE. We all are a part of a world puzzle. I believe eventually the pieces will fit together. We learn from EVERYTHING, even foolish behavior. Thank you for your kind words!

      Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc: Thrilled you liked what I shared. I meant it from my heart. I felt the topic was important as I believe many, many people may be able to relate to the topic. Thank you for reading and commenting, means alot! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Journey: You are SO right, we can always learn more! I think being humble is a life-time journey. A friend of my grandparents always said to me, many time, "We all walk up fool's hill," and she was so correct. Thank you for taking the time to read my hub. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Teaches 12345 Thank you for your comments. I love researching quotes from others on topics I write about. So many historic people have inspired me over the years. Glad you enjoyed the hub...that is always my goal in writing...especially to inspire the reader. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Larry, THANK YOU for your kind words. I forgot all about that song about being a fool. I'm sure I missed alot of other points on being foolish. Maybe someone has even written a book about it! I sincerely appreciate your comments. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • teacherjoe52 profile image


      7 years ago

      I live amongst the biggest fools of all.

      I can say a pen is a pen.

      They will say it is a banana.

      I will ask if a banana can write?


      Then I proceed to write and say see it's a pen.

      They don't even look and reply it is a banana.

      So I ask them to eat it.

      They reply they're not hungry.

      It is a challenge teaching them and living amongst them.

      Now I just tell them this is the way it it is. Here is the proof. If you are too big an idiot to accept thet, that is your problem, not mine.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      7 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Wonderful. I do remember that quote from Einstein. Basically, if you are too afraid to fail you will never try to do anything. If you never do anything, nothing will every happen. We as a human race, will fade away over time. Anyway, that is what I felt after reading your hub. It is a great hub. Wish I could give you more then just one thumbs up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Loved this hub and I need to share it with others. Well-written with some valuable lessons as a bonus.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      7 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed this read as well. It was certainly humble of Einstein to say what he did. The hub is a great reminder that we are all foolish sometimes. We can always learn more and need to stay humble.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Your post had me for a moment but your angle is clear and allows us to be foolish (as long as we learn from it). Great quotes from successful people who have all had a foolish moment or two in their lives. Enjoyed the read!

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 

      7 years ago

      You would have to be a real fool not to understand the importance of this Hub. There was a song on the old Mickey Mouse Club show that went, "I'm no food, nosire, I'm going to live to be 93." I think the song had something to do with playing with matches.

      But as you noted there are a lot of ways to be foolish and most of us are guilty of doing so at one time or another.

      If you keep writing a lot of us will stay on the right track--no fooling.

      Great hub, as always.


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