Taking Responsible Risks


Being adventuresome. Living on the edge of one’s competence

Venture out!



“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”

Kobi Yamada


“We can never discover new continents until we have the courage to lose sight of all coasts.”

André Gide


“There is a time for daring and a time for caution, and a wise man knows which is called for.”

John Keating, teacher in Dead Poet’s Society


“If you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, your life will be safe, expedient and thin.”

Katharine B. Hathaway


“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”

Theodore Roosevelt


“We must dare, and dare again, and go on daring.”

Georges Jacque Danton


“The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”

Abraham Lincoln


“We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”

John F. Kennedy


“Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.”

David Lloyd George


“In parenting and teaching, let this be our aim: not to make every idea safe for children, but every child safe for ideas.”

Gerhardt E. Frost


“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

Amelia Earhart


“Find a way to engage the heart in the problem and you are likely to see the child rise naturally to his own optimal levels of uncertainty, risk and relevance.”

Richard Jones


“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

John F. Kennedy


“If there is something to gain and nothing to lose by asking—by all means ask!”

W. Clement Stone


“Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Ronald Osborn


“People don’t always have the vision, and the secret for the person with the vision is to stand up. It takes a lot of courage.”

Natalie Cole


“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

Elbert Hubbard


“Do not fear risk. All exploration, all growth is calculated. Without challenge people cannot reach their higher selves. Only if we are willing to walk over the edge can we become winners.”

The families of the Challenger Space Shuttle Crew


“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

Beverly Sills


“I say if it’s going to be done, let’s do it. Let’s not put it in the hands of fate. Let’s not put it in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me. I know me best. Then take a breath and go ahead.”

Anita Baker


“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”

Katherine Mansfield


“We must have courage to bet on our ideas, to take the calculated risk, and to act. Everyday living requires courage if life is to be effective and bring happiness.”

Maxwell Maltz


“My advice to someone who wants to become a CEO: take risks and never stop learning.”

Barry Rand, CEO, Avis Rental Car


“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”

Arthur C. Clarke


“To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory.”

Pierre Corneille


“There has been a calculated risk in every stage of American development—the pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, businessmen who were not afraid of failure, dreamers who were not afraid of action.”

Brooks Atkinson


“Failure is always a safe, familiar, no-risk refuge, a known experience; it focuses on testing no new responsibilities upon one. Success, on the other hand, is unknown territory and a high-risk business; the very life-style it imposes if full of relentless demands for even better performances and achievements.”

Alan H. Olmstead


“It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


“Do not fear adversity. Remember, a kite rises against the wind rather than with it. People are not willing to take risks when they feel afraid or threatened. But if you manage people by love—that is, if you show them respect and trust—they start to perform up to their real capabilities.”

Jan Carlson, President, Scandinavian Airlines System


“Every creative project I’ve produced required courage and a triumph over fear, but some potential accomplishments remain unrealized because of fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of error.”

Dr. Edward Rockey


“The greatest barrier to innovation/creativity is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of ridicule or speculation or being noticed…whatever. Just fear of reaching into the unknown, trying something different. The ‘way it’s always been’ is safe. Change is scary and takes courage to initiate. Those who dare to say ‘what if?’ and take even the 1st steps toward change are the bravest of souls.”

Beverly Mardis


“Everything is sweetened by risk.”

Alexander Smith


“I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.”

Dr. Joyce Brothers


“Only when we accept full responsibility for our lives will we have the confidence and courage to risk.”

Stacy Allison (first American women to climb Mt. Everest)


“I want to work with the top people, because only they have the courage and the confidence and the risk-seeking profile that you need.”

Laurel Cutler


“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”

Frederick B. Wilcox


“Why not go out on a limb. Isn’t that where the fruit is?”

Frank Scully


“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Robert F. Kennedy


“Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing.”

J. C. F. Schiller


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

T.S. Eliot


“All men’s gains are the fruit of venturing.”



“Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.”

Davy Crockett


“If you’re never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.”

Julia Sorel, author


“Do not wait for ideal circumstances, nor the best opportunities; they will never come.”

Janet E. Stuart


“Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.”

Liz Smith


“Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing.”

William Feather


“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”

Elbert Hubbard


“When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take—choose the bolder.”

William Joseph Slim, British Field Marshall


“Leap and the net will appear.”

Julie Cameron


“Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing taking.”

Tim McMahon


“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

Erica Jong, author


“If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room.”

Jayne Howard


“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”

General George S. Patton


“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Mario Andretti


“Nothing ventured, something lost.”

Neale Clapp, consultant


“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”



“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Wayne Gretzky


“The men who have done big things are those who were not afraid to attempt big things, who were not afraid to risk failure in order to gain success.”

B. C. Forbes


“Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.”



“Leap and the net will appear.”

Zen saying


“The mind, ever the willing servant, will respond to boldness, for boldness, in effect, is a command to deliver mental resources.”

Norman Vincent Peale, pastor, speaker, & author


“Looking back on my life, I wish I’d stepped forward and made a fool of myself more often when I was younger because when you do, you find out you can do it.”

William Sessions, former FBI Director


“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

Sydney J. Harris, Strictly Personal


“If you let fear of the unknown stop you from taking chances, you will stifle your true potential.”

Steve Rizzo, speaker, comedian, and author


“To win, you have to risk loss.”

Jean-Claude Killy, champion skier


“It takes courage to be creative. Just as soon as you have a new idea, you are a minority of one.”

E. Paul Torrence


“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.”

William Jennings Bryan


“One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world. Making the most of one’s best.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick, minister and author


“Stay firmly in your path and dare; be wild two hours a day!”

Paul Gauguin


“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

Robert Allen, author and speaker


“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes the furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”

Dale Carnegie, author


“Throughout the ages there have always been those who have been willing to go beyond the norms and reach for that unknown and distant star.”



“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“If you trust your nerve as well as your skill, you’re capable of a lot more than you can imagine.”

Debi Thomas, Olympic figure skater


“We cannot fail to win unless we fail to try.”

Tom Clancy


“Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.”

Storm Jameson, British Writer


“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


“Develop your initiative.  Do something no one else had done.”

Thomas Watson Sr.  IBM


“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Babe Ruth


“You’ve got to have the guts not to be afraid to screw up.”

Fuzzy Zoeller, professional golfer


“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”

Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s Corp.


“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Nora Roberts


“We must never be afraid to go too far, for success lies just beyond.”

Marcel Proust


“That’s the risk you take if you change: that people you’ve been involved with won’t like the new you. But other people who do will come along.”

Lisa Alther, author


“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

Muhammad Ali


“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”

Rosalia de Castro, Galician writer


“Nobody succeeds beyond their wildest expectations unless they begin with wild expectations.”

Ralph Charell, author


“Fear is the single biggest barrier to creativity. Unless we’re brave enough to risk looking foolish, we’ll inevitably find ourselves sticking to the status quo. That fear is disabling. One of the things we need to do as business leaders is build and nurture cultures that encourage responsible risk taking so making mistakes is OK.”

Josh Linkner, founder of ePrize


“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Helen Keller


“You can’t run a business without taking risks.”

Millard Drexler, American businessman


“Do not strive for perfection. If you do, you won’t take risks.”

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania


“We need to be prepared to be unprepared.”

Peter Bregman, strategic adviser to CEOs, Harvard Business Review online


“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”

Peter Drucker


“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”

Virgil Thomson, American composer and critic


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