Courage Or Conformity
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
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 which 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 conforming. 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
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.
Note from Jill Hutchison, Attitude Adjustment specialist and LifeSuccess Consultant in Perth, Australia:
It amazes me how timeous these quotes and stories can be! Who would have thought that concepts talked about decades ago would be so relevant today? When we have an attitude of conforming – of towing the line and doing what we think is expected of us, it very often leads to mediocre results. When we have an attitude of courage, we select the path we wish to choose – we decide where we are headed before we follow anyone! It takes courage to start something new, to go against the crowd, as it were.
Where are you conforming and where in your life are you showing courage? Where do you think you need to conform less or conform more? Where do you need to be charting your own path and who could you follow who is already where you would like to be?