The late Earl Nightingale was, for many years, the most listened to man on radio. His radio show, "Our Changing World" was broadcast on over 1,000 radio stations around the world. He researched and wrote every show himself. The man virtually devoured books. He was consumed with the idea of why so few people succeed in life and so many others do not. I had the good fortune of working for a number of years with Earl. It was a tremendous learning experience; one I treasure more with each passing year.
We all admire the courageous person and quite often consider the individual who lacks courage, a coward. However, that is not how Earl Nightingale saw it. He said the opposite of courage was not cowardness, it was conformity. I believe the more you think about that, the more you will be inclined to agree with him. It takes courage to break away from the crowd, to go your own way, to do the thing that may be unpopular. It takes courage to stand up for the person who is being unjustly criticized, rather than agreeing and going along with the crowd. It takes courage for the teenager to say no, when all the rest of the kids begin going down the wrong path.
Earl Nightingale was correct - the opposite of courage is conformity. It is one reason so few people enjoy any lasting success. It is so easy to go along with the large group. We don't have to stand out, to be different.
The next time you are encouraged to fall into line, to be a sport and everything in you says no - be courageous and go your own way. There is no compensation in conformity.