What is pride? Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value. One obtains pride by never accepting any code of irrational virtues impossible to practice and by never failing to practice the virtues one knows to be rational—by never accepting an unearned guilt and never earning any, or, if one has earned it, never leaving it uncorrected—by never resigning oneself passively to any flaws in one’s character—by never placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of one’s own self-esteem. In contrast, vanity is to take pride in other people’s values and to worship the whims of others as their own.
Howard Roark from the Fountainhead is the one who best examplified the virtue of pride, Roark designs architecture because he wants to design. He knows his designs are good and he never forced anyone to appreciate his designs, all he asked for is for others to recognize it was him who has made the amazing creations. His circumstances limited his practice initially but he never stopped achieving his dreams. He had absolute self esteem in himself without becoming delusional in his abilities. Remeber, “Howard Roark laughed”.
If vanity was a person, it would be Wesley Mouch from Atlas Shrugged, Wesley Mouch had everything handed to him but he was never successful. He went to college with family trust fund, he wasted the money his uncle enttrusted to him. His job before he became a politician was to make advertisement for the products of entreprenuars. His lack of values really showed when he agreed with everyone else’s ideas. James Taggart even said to him
What I like most about you, Mouch, is that you do not talk too much.
Mouch slowly moved up the ladder by winning favours from others and destroying the economy with his very own incompetency. Eventually he betrayed everyone who had trusted in him and pursued his self interest.
Vanity in recent years have become the default value judgement, I call this the smug generation for accomplishing so little yet feel the entitled for prizes. There many examples in this category such as animal rights activists who place the welfare of animals above them and their fellow humans, but are the first to kill the animal if it discomforts them; Human rights acitivists believe themselves to be champions of other people’s rights but will never sacrifice their own for others when push comes to shove; Fat activists claim to be supportive of all body shapes but do not hesitate to attack skinny or attractive people, etc.
Pride is nothing to be ashamed of, you deserve your own values and don’t let anyone else take them away from you. In summary:
Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”