My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
-- Atlas Shrugged
Another optimistic quote today. Because she could be snarky, Rand often turned people off. It takes a little more patience to understand how much faith in human beings she had. She believed we could all be heroes in our own life stories.
Also, I think some people are intimidated by Rand's ideas because she put such a large emphasis on "productive achievement as [one's] noblest activity." Some people feel that if they haven't achieved anything, then Rand's ideas are "judging them." Some people feel that not everyone is destined to make history. To a certain extent, they're right, but remember that we all get to set our own values. Your achievement is what you decide is worth striving for. For some, that might be writing a great book or becoming a great athlete or being rich. For others, it might be living a different kind of ideal life.
The best part is, you get to say what you value, and what a great achievement is to you! Living your life for the accomplishment of your own achievements, according to your own idea of a "perfect life," is what Rand's philosophy is all about. That's why it's such an uplifting message.