Self-esteem is reliance on one’s power to think. It cannot be replaced by one’s power to deceive. The self-confidence of a scientist and the self-confidence of a con man are not interchangeable states, and do not come from the same psychological universe. The success of a man who deals with reality augments his self-confidence. The success of a con man augments his panic.
Return of the Primitive, 181
Ayn Rand states that it is better to use one's mind for a "self-confident" stance toward reality, than to rely on simplistic trust that depends on a "con game". Those that believe are "conning themselves" to be dependent, and hindering much of what could become of their lives!
Describing the Indescribable
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