There are so many harsh realities and lessons to be learned from the Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano debacle. But the one I am particularly interested in is how one relationship had the power to instantly demolish the reputation of a millionaire, who was well known for his philanthropy to charitable organizations. Not to mention, cause him to lose controlling interest in a basketball franchise, as well as single handedly make the topic of race in Sports and in America stay in the headlines for weeks. If you are not familiar with the story, Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano recorded him making racist comments against African Americans. They were leaked, and triggered an in depth investigation about his discrimination practices.
Putting the grotesque racial remarks aside momentarily, I am curious to know why Mr. Sterling thought it was beneficial for him to entertain the company of V. Stiviano. I’m always interested in learning what makes people take extreme risk, given the amount they stand to lose. Was he not competent enough to understand what was at stake by having the relationship? Maybe because he could afford to have her around, he couldn’t see why he shouldn’t? Did V. Stiviano give off the impression that she was innocent, harmless, and needed someone to take care of her? Did he interpret this as meaning that he could be careless with his actions around her? Whatever the case, he severely underestimated the impact that this person could have in his life if things didn’t go well (side chick gone bad). And, we as a society may also severely underestimate the impact that an abundance of wealth and power can have on an individual, who for all intense purposes has already seen their best days.
Not choosing to find out if a person has your best interest at heart, but instead allow them to tag along and enjoy all the fruits of your labor can be an easy pitfall. Especially, if you feel that you are not the sharpest, youngest, or most attractive person available. However, any engagement with a person who does not have as much to lose as you creates the potential for a dangerous situation. This may be even more so if you are getting involved with someone that has proven in the past to not be wise in their behavior and choices. Typically, any guidance you offer will be rejected and resented. One of the biggest risk with keeping the company of those who are known for being foolish, is that they are perfectly fine with sabotage and ruining lives solely to get attention. And, they are often protected by those who have enabled them. If your looking to teach them a lesson, it will pretty hard to do.
Attempting to remember what is the likely outcome when interacting with a fool can be a struggle, whether the person is related to you, a mere acquaintance, or someone you are considering having an intimate relationship with. Often, if the fool is a family member it can be hard to not try to assist or enlighten them because you care. It can be challenging to let a fool lie in his foolishness, because a fool is frequently in need. The individual may look harmless, but given the right opportunity they can become quite powerful, and in a moment take down everything you have built. On the bright side, a fool is usually able to let you know who the other fools are based on their response to his or her actions, and this could end up being a future strategic benefit.
Here are some tips on handling fools:
- Don’t expect appreciation or loyalty. If you do something and they happen to benefit, keep it moving.
- Don’t have fools around people and places that matter to you, they don’t see the same value, and won’t have the same respect.
- If you have to engage with them, keep it to a minimum. A fool enjoys bringing you down to their level.
Rachel Bryant Lundy