The first type of con game is part of our lexicon. This confidence game involves a trickster building up the confidence of their mark before depriving them of something – usually through their wallet. And a knock-on effect of the con’s impact is that all the mark’s increased confidence disappears – and then some.

Naturally, we want to avoid these kinds of cons. The con is zero sum; one-way: the winner hoards, while the loser’s deficits compound.

The other type of confidence game also involves building up the confidence of another. Except, this time the goal is to build up confidence for the recipient to use themselves. They can take this confidence and channel it into the projects, paths, or relationships they want to pursue.

The other party is no longer a trickster: they’re a host. The host of the game may get paid along the way – or maybe not. And if they do, it’s in an open, consenting exchange.

This type of confidence game is one we can embrace. 

The recipient builds confidence from receiving support, ideas, and feedback. The host builds confidence from witnessing the progress of the people they’re working with.

This type of confidence game is a virtuous circle. It’s one that compounds and continues to grow. Positive sum.

Here’s the thing: confidence is a huge and often underestimated part of making progress. In today’s overwhelming world, so many of us are lacking the confidence to go out and take the next step: whether it’s to step up; step out; or step aside.

Unfortunately, the first type of confidence game often prevails.

The good news: the world urgently needs more hosts for the second type of game.

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Two types of con game

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