“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
The word used here for “way” is the Hebrew derek, and It means road, path, journey, direction, habit, way, course of life. Thus when Proverbs speaks of “the way,” it is speaking of the path or course of action chosen by a person or group. It is the way a person chooses to live their life. It is both a way of believing and a way of behaving.
The way of a fool is to reject God’s standards; they do not want to be instructed or directed by God or by God’s people. They are convinced that their way of living life is correct, and they have no interest in receiving feedback, advice, or teaching. They are self-centered and arrogant.
Their way of believing is off-path, which causes their way of behaving to be off-path.
In chapter 14, Proverbs makes an even stronger statement about the foolish path of self-centered arrogance: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14.12)
Wise people, on the other hand, recognize the need for instruction and direction; they want teaching and feedback. For that reason, wise people listen to advice. They seek truth and wisdom. They want to know what is right, and they want to know where their understanding is deficient or off-base.
We saw this same truth in Proverbs 3: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3.5-7)
Again we see the Hebrew derek, where it says “in all your ways acknowledge him.” Trust God and make him the Lord of everything in your life. Everything. We are called to trust God and his standards, and we are warned not to deviate from his principles and drift into the arrogance of thinking we know better than God.