Principles, from Latin: principia – that which comes first, is most important, is most necessary, chief, leading, foundation. The word clearly refers to that which is of prime importance and must come before anything else, however difficult it may be at times.
I feel that Martin Luther King Jr. summed up the concept best:
“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?
But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”