Did you say coward? What if there was more to it than just being labeled a coward? When it comes to thinking about events in our lives where we have a choice to either step out of our comfort zone or regress back into our known surroundings, we usually see this as either having courage or acting cowardly. The meaning of the regression is more than just acting cowardly. The more sobering meaning expressed by different people including the likes of Earl Nightingale is what we will explore today…
The Unexpected Opposite
Earl Nightingale stated a couple times in his audio lessons—including his famous recording, “The Strangest Secret”—that the opposite of courage is conformity. In many affairs in life, to be courageous is to step outside the box of the social norm. To go against the grain of what is thought to be the normal way of responding to life.
In order to live any kind of life that feels authentic to you, you will find that it calls for you to be courageous to receive that life. No matter what that may entail for your life, being bold will be the charge to have a life of authenticity.
There will be plenty of people giving their opinion of how you should be doing this or how you ought to be going into this type of career. The only problem is that they can’t see your vision of what a happy life means to you. This is when you come to a crossroads. You can either follow what the masses say is the proper way of going about your life goals—if the masses even have life goals—or you can take the inspired actions that leads you to your individualized path in your journey.
The Courage of Taking Your Path
Having the courage of walking your personal path doesn’t mean you will go against everyone you come across. It means you will have to be willing to rise above conformity of the majority. People will tell you that what you are doing may be too risky and that it’s safer to take the road the crowd is taking. If you choose to go on your own path, you are taking a courageous step; if you hop onto the crowded road just to appease the masses, you are conforming.
Nothing great has been accomplished by conforming to popular opinion. Conforming to the popular opinion will grant you ease and acceptance in society. This is the main reason why the opposite of conforming is courage; it takes courage to turn towards the path less taken and risk the chance of being laughed at, make fun of, or ostracized by your peers. It takes courage to go in the direction of the unknown; to leave the path of predictability; to have a mind of your own and dare to use it.
Pulling away from your personal path back into the comfort of social acceptance is you giving up courage, not for cowardice, but for conformity. When every door is being slammed in your face, when people are not taking your calls, when everything seems to be going wrong, it takes courage to rise up the next morning and say, “I will live the life I deserve, I will not break!”
We All Have A Choice
The life you deserve is the life you choose to have and be bold enough to live it. Fear is not the opposite of courage, fear can be found right along side of courage. It’s what makes someone courageous. A courageous person is someone who felt fear but held on a second longer.
Is it not when you have accomplished something that others told you it can’t be done or why don’t you quit, is when you feel the greatest breakthroughs in life? Maybe not even having other people suggesting you quit, maybe that suggestion is coming from yourself when you’re going through the struggle; but the act of courage is what allows you breakthrough to the other side. Pulling back only brings you back into the life you already know and currently experiencing— it is conformity.
So while you are choosing to walk your personal path in order to live a life you regard as great, remember it will take courage and understand what the opposite entails. Not fear because that will be felt throughout the process regardless, but conformity. Conforming to what the world dictates to you as the way of life. Choose your path and stick to it through the opinions of others. Choose courage, not it’s opposite, conformity.