Published on January 18, 2021

5 Proven Risk-Taking Tips To Take More Chances In Life

5 Proven Risk-Taking Tips To Take More Chances In Life

Most of us want to have better experiences than we might have had in the past or be currently experiencing today. This can often involve needing to step into situations we haven’t navigated before. It can involve uncertainty and hold opportunities for us to have unpleasant and/or pleasant experiences.

Our brains are primarily designed to keep us safe and balanced, physically mentally and emotionally. However, most of us know deep inside that repeating the same patterns and expecting a different result is nonsensical. There comes a tipping point when it’s time to take a chance. Taking more chances involves taking risks. This can be scary!

Traditionally, taking risks is only for the bold and courageous. We associate there being a higher chance of having negative experiences; pain, disappointment, failing, getting injured. Because our brain is wired for safety and survival, these perceptions often hijack our decision-making so are drawn back to maintain the status quo.

Despite our instinctive human behavior and thinking, there are ways we can prevent this hijack so we can take more chances in life.

Whether or not you are a leader of a team or wanting to make progress in one or more areas of your personal life, these 5 proven risk-taking tips will maximize your capacity to move forward further and faster.

1. Routinely Review Your Circle of Control to Help You Plan What Risks to Take

In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey explained how our point of greatest effectiveness will be when we are operating from our sphere of direct control. When we dedicate our energy and attention to trying to change things that aren’t in that sphere, we experience discomfort and pain we may not be equipped to manage. We can also become vulnerable to a far longer recovery process as a result.

The inner-most circle is the circle of control. It represents what you have direct and ultimate jurisdiction over:

  • Your thoughts
  • Your choices
  • Your decisions
  • Your behavior and actions
  • Your mood
  • Your mental state
  • Your responses and reactions
  • Your mental, emotional and physical states

The second outer circle – the circle of influence – represents exactly that; what you influence. You don’t have direct control over the following, but how you operate from your own circle of control can have ripple effects on people and situations around you:


  • Your relationships, your children’s happiness, safety and wellbeing
  • How others respond to you, how they perceive you
  • Your work productivity, whether you get promoted or not
  • Who follows you on social media
  • Who you vote for
  • Your development of skills, improvement of competency
  • The success of your business

The outermost circle represents the ‘circle of concern’. These are situations and relationships for which you hold in your mind and heart as important. They are things you often have little control and influence over, however, they impact you:

  • Systems and institutions (e.g. your employer, governments)
  • Environmental issues
  • The economy
  • Natural events and disasters

If you don’t naturally self-identify as a risk-taker, start by taking risks where you have the highest level of control. You are more likely to succeed, increase your ability to assess, plan and executing taking risks. This in turn fuels your motivation and readiness to take risks and chances in the future.

How much can you truly control and/or influence when addressing how you are being bullied at work? Look at the different aspects of your situation and see which circle each aspect resides in. Referring to Covey’s concentric model can help you determine what risks are in front of you and which ones are better for you to take.

2. Adopt a Gamified Perspective to Increase Risk-Taking and Make It More Fun

The mental and emotional pressure we put on ourselves to achieve certain outcomes inflates our perception of risk consequences. We can often feel the stakes are higher. However, what if you applied a different set of expectant outcomes when you are in risk-taking situations?

Gamification has become a more widely used approach in a variety of settings where growth and improvement in performance are desired or required. The application of game dynamics, mechanics and frameworks into non-game settings has demonstrated effectiveness in encouraging risk-taking behavior along with changed perceptions toward the meaning and experience of risk-taking itself.

When researcher Itamar Shatz reviewed the risk-taking behavior of participants learning a foreign language, he found gamification methods increased their risk-taking behavior as well as their performance and self-confidence.[1]

Similar research was undertaken by Ignacio Garcia exploring the effectiveness of popular language-learning application Duolingo identified that using gamification approaches enhanced users’ learning.[2] Learners are driven to advance to higher levels by being awarded points for providing correct answers and being given a couple of opportunities to attempt each question. They feel freer to fail.

When considering risks you might take, ask yourself: Is there a way I can gamify this? If I am feeling high pressure and angst about this risk, how can I inject more fun into the process of taking the risk? Could you engage others to also engage in this risk-taking activity with you? Can you create your own reward system of celebrating your taking chances in the first place?


Reward yourself and celebrate your experiences of taking risks regardless of whether you achieve your main goal. You develop a different emotional attachment to risk-taking exercises and increase your confidence to take more chances in your life.

3. Take Risks Where You Have the Resources to Manage the Consequences

You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without wearing a parachute, nor would you skydive without knowing and following safety protocols. You equip yourself as best as you can for the situation that you are unfamiliar with. Then there is always risk remaining where events can unfold in ways you (and even experts) are unable to predict or foresee.

We are going to be more likely to take risks where we perceive fewer negative consequences are possible and/or we have greater confidence to manage these consequences. How can we then minimize the negative consequences?

Assess the level of risk and close the gap between the resources required and the resources you have. Do a simple needs analysis based on what you identify taking the risk requires and what you have available to you, to meet those needs. Where you identify a gap between your resources and what is required, look to see what is within your control to help you close the gap.


  • Do you have enough knowledge to tip you in favor of success in taking the risk?
  • What equipment do you need to maximize your chances of success?
  • What skills and technical competencies do you need?
  • What else do you need to learn or acquire to tip your probability of succeeding to 51% or higher?


  • As you think about the risk, how are you likely to react/respond if negative consequences result?
  • What support options and strategies do you have in place to help you take the risk as well as catch you should you be unsuccessful?


  • How are you currently perceiving the risk?
  • What mental state are you in as you think about taking it? Do you need to first manage negative emotions or need to diffuse heightened anxiety?
  • What mental strategies and exercises do you have in place to help you prepare for taking the risk, experiencing the process of taking it? Do you feel this enough or could you strengthen your approach?
  • Can you anticipate how you will be mentally affected should you fail? What mental strategies do you have in place should you be unsuccessful?

Having answers to these questions above won’t only help you determine what risks to take. You will feel greater confidence and control of being able to maximize your chances of succeeding in taking them.


It’s essential you assess your risk-taking capabilities holistically: physically, mentally and emotionally. Because we know through research how our mental and emotional states and past experiences highly influence our perceptions, aptitude and approach to taking risks we must consider all three angles. Doing so will springboard you toward taking more chances toward experiencing a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

4. Regulate Your Emotions Beforehand to Help You Assess What Risks to Take and Prepare to Take Them

In the absence of enough metrics or a frame of reference against which to measure if a chance poses more risk or not, we unconsciously rely on our emotions. In fact, our emotions dictate our self-belief and self-efficacy in situations we perceive to be risky, far more than we may realize.

A recent study conducted at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland revealed two incredible results:[3]

  • a) That our emotional state impacts our perception of risk;
  • b) That when we focus on the negative consequences of taking a risk, we perceive the risk to be greater

When participants were asked to imagine negative risk consequences, they reported more negative mood states and perceived risk as higher compared to the control condition. The researchers also found that the type of visualizations participants were guided to create, influenced their mood and their perception of whether the risk was higher or lower.

In the third experiment, the researchers found that stress that was irrelevant to the risk itself swayed participants to perceive the risk as greater. So, the more stressed we are in general, the greater risk we will perceive.

This means we need to know our own unique stressors, how they can impact us and how to manage this first. We need to undertake risk assessments and development management strategies from as balanced and regulated emotional and mental states, as possible.

Consider what stressors might be influencing your mental and emotional state when you are undertaking any stages of planning, preparing for or undertaking a risk. Can you reduce or remove them? You may need to recalculate the timing of taking certain risks.

You always want to be in the best mindset possible. Attention might need to be given to other things first to allow you to have a clear enough mind to maximize your success.


Just as you wouldn’t go trekking on a high difficulty mountain trail when a tornado is forecasted, nor might it be the best time to look at changing careers if your intimate relationship is in dire straits.

Don’t rush. Choose your timing wisely embracing the fact that there also may never be a 100% perfect time to take a chance. Simply be considered with it.

5. Always Celebrate All Aspects of Risk-Taking

Taking a risk is also setting a goal. If rewards exist only on the condition of that goal being achieved, this leaves many steps and opportunities for us to balk and opt-out when we feel the risk is too great. We need to insert strong enough reasons for us to stay the course.

Because we know emotions have a strong influence over our decisions, we can cleverly inject positive emotional experiences toward all stages of taking any risk:

  • a) Assessing the size and type of risk
  • b) Planning and preparing
  • c) Undertaking the risk
  • d) Experiencing the consequences

Learning what resources you currently have is a validating start in itself. You may well discover you are more equipped than you thought! Congratulate yourself (and your team) when you have completed a certain stage in your risk planning. Celebrate this milestone regardless of whether you go ahead with taking the risk past this point or not.

When it comes to undertaking the risk itself, celebrate the fact itself that you are nudging yourself to step into discomfort to grow. You’re testing and trying. At the very least, you are discovering your current capabilities are in this particular experience. You have applied yourself in ways you might not have before. You’re progressing and learning whether you succeed or not!

In April 2020, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. This mission is referred to as the ‘successful failure’ with the crew returning safely to Earth despite an explosion that foiled their aim to land on the moon. Whether we succeed or not, we must deliberately emphasize rewarding the effort we’ve made to go on the journey in the first place.

Review all the parts of your journey; the good and the bad. Proactively look for the benefits of undertaking the experience. Engage processes to work through the pain, hurt and disappointment you might feel should you have failed. And then, stand up. Look up. Look ahead.

When you look closely enough, every aspect of risk-taking holds a benefit to you. As you rewire what risk-taking means for you, you may start to feel you’re not taking risks at all. You’ll be rubbing your hands together with child-like excitement to take more chances in life.

More Tips on Taking Risks in Life

Featured photo credit: Loic Leray via


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Malachi Thompson

Leadership & Performance Edge Strategist

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Last Updated on April 27, 2021

How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

How To Accept Responsibility For Your Life (7 No-Nonsense Tips)

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you are human. This means that there is likely a time or two when you have not taken responsibility for something in your life. We’ve all been there. Maybe you broke an item at a place of employment but didn’t fess up to it, or you missed a deadline and blamed the reason why on someone else, or perhaps you decided a responsibility was too great to face.

Accepting responsibility can be challenging because it doesn’t always feel good. It can require time we think we don’t have. Feelings of shame or inadequacy can surface. Rather than face those feelings, it’s much easier to not accept responsibility.

This is all understandable. But it may not be serving us and who we want to be in the long run.

Accepting responsibility has benefits at work, home, and all aspects of life. When we demonstrate to ourselves that we can be responsible, we show our strength of character, our leadership qualities, and even our adulting skills.

Knowing that doesn’t make accepting responsibility any easier, does it?

Using the example of pretending that you live in an apartment with multiple roommates where you all have to share the kitchen, we will look at seven tips on how to accept responsibility for your life.

1. Stop Playing the Victim

You’ve just cooked a big meal involving several pots, pans, and cooking utensils. You reflect on feeling overwhelmed and stressed by life right now and decide that you just don’t have the time or energy to do your dishes right now. The next time you or your roommates want to use the kitchen, there’s a big mess and a lack of options for pans and cutlery to use.

Maybe one of your roommates will do it for you? Superman to the rescue? I hate to break it to you, but Superman doesn’t actually exist.


Why insist on crushing every childhood fantasy? Because when we wait for someone else to fix our problems, we are playing the victim, and if Superman doesn’t exist (or Spiderman or Wonder Woman, or Black Panther, etc.), then we will be perpetually tied to the proverbial train tracks, waiting for someone else to save us.[1]

What we can do in this situation is acknowledge and validate our feelings. In the above scenario, you’re focusing on feeling overwhelmed. This feeling isn’t “bad.” But it does affect your motivation to accept responsibility, keeping you in a victim mindset. It isn’t just the dishes that you need to face. You also need to take responsibility for your emotions.

Acknowledging and validating emotions help you to understand what you’re feeling and why. You can then redirect the energy you’re wasting on being a victim and redirect it toward more productive things in life. Like doing your own dishes.

There are many different ways we can develop the skill of self-acknowledgment and validation. One of the best is to write about what you’re experiencing. You may be surprised by how you describe the “what” and “why” of your feelings. You may even uncover other times in your life when you felt this way and find that your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are based on that past. You might even heal an old experience as you deal with the present circumstance!

2. End the Blame Game

“If my roommates were more consistent about doing their dishes, then I would feel like I could do mine.”

It’s so easy to come up with excuses and reasons why we shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than anyone else. We find interesting ways to blame others for why we can’t do something. This becomes another way to avoid taking responsibility, and we can do so out of a perspective of anger.[2]

Anger can be energetically compelling, but it’s not always rooted in reality. It can keep us stuck and prevent us from having the life and relationships we really want. Much like being the victim, it’s important to ask yourself how being and staying angry is serving you. Again, it’s important to acknowledge and validate these thoughts and feelings too.

Perhaps you’re really feeling mad at someone at your workplace who isn’t taking responsibility for their own projects. You end up taking on their work, allowing anger to build up. By the time you get home, you need a place to let that anger out. And so, your anger is directed toward your kitchen and your roommates.


This may help you feel better for a little while, but it’s not sustainable. There are so many ways of dealing with anger. It would serve you and others around you well to learn how to manage and work with any anger you have in your life so that you can resume your acceptance of responsibility.

3. Forgive Yourself and others

After reading tips number 1 and 2, perhaps you are now adept at practicing acknowledging and validating your feelings. Because of that work, it’s easier to forgive yourself and others.

For instance, without the feelings of victimhood and blame, you have the energy to see things from a perspective of forgiveness and tolerance.

From a place of forgiveness, you see that even though your roommates don’t take care of their dishes right away every time, they do so more often than not. Plus, you can see that all of you have challenging things happening in your lives right now, so why should your challenges make it so that you can slack off? You may even remember times when your roommates have helped you out with cleaning the kitchen even though the mess wasn’t theirs.

As you forgive others, you forgive yourself too and take ownership of your own tasks.

4. Use Responsibility as a Way to Help Others

Shirking our responsibilities can actually affect others’ well-being. We can step into a space of considering how our actions, or lack thereof, might be burdening or harming others.

For example, not doing your dishes and leaving the kitchen dirty means that when another roommate wants to use the kitchen to make a meal, they may have to clean the kitchen first to have access to the pots, pans, and utensils required. They may feel annoyed that you didn’t take responsibility for your mess, which affects your relationship with your roommate. A confrontation may be on the horizon.

However, if you can put yourself in the frame of mind to consider things from your roommate’s position, you might think twice about leaving the dishes. By taking responsibility and doing your part to keep the kitchen clean, you are taking care of the space and your roommates.


A lot of people find it easier and highly beneficial to do things out of a sense of responsibility for others.[3] Thinking about things from another’s perspective can be a motivating factor and can provide us with feelings of purpose.

5. Look for the Win-Win

When we choose not to take responsibility, we are choosing a zero-sum game, meaning nobody wins. What if you looked for the win-win opportunity of taking responsibility instead?

Maybe there have been times when your roommates have saddled you with a messy kitchen. If you now decide to leave your mess, nobody wins. Whereas, cleaning up after yourself now means that you are modeling how you want the space to be treated by everyone. You are also ensuring that your roommates can trust you to take responsibility for your cleaning tasks, and the next person who wants to use the kitchen will be able to do so.

In this scenario, you will be taking responsibility, cultivating a relationship of trust with your roommates, and making it so that nobody else has to clean up after you. Everyone wins.

6. Make Taking Responsibility Fun

Another vantage point from which we could look is the place of joy. Yes, joy.

It’s easy to paint “cleaning the kitchen” in a negative light when shows are streaming on Netflix and downtime activities calling. But what could happen for you if you made the task of doing the dishes fun?

How can it be fun? This is where you get to be creative.

Some ideas could be playing some of your favorite music as you clean, invite a roommate to chat while you clean, or you could play that show you’re binging on Netflix as you scrub. Have Airpods? Call a friend as you clean!


Finding a way to make it fun helps you lose track of time and get the job done faster. It could also provide some necessary “play” time. We don’t play enough as adults. Get back to your childhood roots and find ways to incorporate play into your daily routine, and get the dishes done at the same time!

7. Choose Your Own Adventure

When we approach responsibility from our highest self, we can be at choice for how we want to accept it. This requires an awareness of what we intend to accomplish or learn in any life experience.

For instance, when faced with a responsibility, you could consider all the ways of looking at it (from a place of victimhood, blame, forgiveness, service to others, win-win, or fun) and decide which perspective would serve the highest good of all, yourself included.

When we can approach any life situation from the standpoint of having choices, doesn’t that feel better than feeling forced into a decision or action?


Knowing that you can make conscious choices at any time in your life hopefully helps you to feel freer and more energized for any life responsibility you choose to accept. These seven tips on how to accept responsibility will set you up for a good start.

More Tips on How To Be a Responsible Person

Featured photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado via


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