A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
—John Augustus Shedd (1858–1931) American Author
If you play it safe in life, you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow anymore.
—Shirley Hufstedler (1925–2016) American Lawyer, Jurist
Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.
—Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable … we must be content to creep along the ground, and can never soar.
—John Henry Newman (1801–90) British Theologian, Poet
And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
—Anais Nin (1903–77) French-American Essayist
If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: It’s gonna go wrong. Or She’s going to hurt me. Or, I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore … Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.
—Ray Bradbury (b.1920) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
One who sits between two chairs may easily fall down.
The human soul has need of security and also of risk. The fear of violence or of hunger or of any other extreme evil is a sickness of the soul. The boredom produced by a complete absence of risk is also a sickness of the soul.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
Creative risk taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.
—Gary Ryan Blair
If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It’s much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.
—Grace Hopper (1906–92) American Naval Officer, Mathematician
I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.
—Brian Tracy (b.1944) American Author, Motivational Speaker
Take risks … be willing to put your mind and your spirit, your time and your energy, your stomach and your emotions on the line. To search for a safe place, to search for an end to a rainbow, is to search for a place that you will hate once you find it. The soul must be nourished along with the bank account and the resume. The best nourishment for any soul is to create your own risks.
—Jim Lehrer (1934–2020) American Television Journalist
Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. … It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
—Erica Jong (b.1942) American Novelist, Feminist
Every society honors its live conformists
and its dead troublemakers.
—Mignon McLaughlin (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.
—John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) American Philanthropist, Businessperson
To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory.
—Pierre Corneille (1606–84) French Poet, Dramatist
Our whole way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk. Cradle to grave, we are supported, insulated, and isolated from the risks of life – and if we fail, our government stands ready with Bandaids of every size.
—Shirley Temple (1928–2014) American Actress, Diplomat
In contemplation, if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.
—Alan Alda (b.1936) American Actor, TV Personality, Screenwriter
There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.
Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than of death.
—James F. Byrnes (1882–1972) American Elected Representative, Political leader, Politician
Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.
—Mary Tyler Moore (b.1936) American Actor, TV Personality
Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can — and surely will at times — fail. Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed or risking love, can be terrifying, too. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.
—Joyce Brothers (1927–2013) American Psychologist, Advice Columnist
You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, and you don’t branch out, you don’t try—you don’t take the risk.
—Rosalynn Carter (b.1927) American Humanitarian, First Lady
Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.
—William Congreve (1670–1729) English Playwright, Poet
No great deed is done by falterers who ask for certainty.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
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. The “sure thing” boat never gets far from shore.
—Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) American Self-Help Author
You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes, because that’s where the fruit is.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
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 (1863–1945) British Liberal Statesman
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 (1899–1975) American Surgeon, Motivational Writer
During the first period of a man’s life the greatest danger is: not to take the risk. When once the risk has really been taken, then the greatest danger is to risk too much.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
Who bravely dares must sometimes risk a fall.
—Tobias Smollett (1721–71) Scottish Poet, Novelist
Have courage and a little willingness to venture and be defeated.
—Robert Frost (1874–1963) American Poet
To live differently, to love differently, to think differently, or to try to. Is the danger of beauty so great that it is better to live without it (the standard model)? Or to fall into her arms fire to fire? There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.
—Jeanette Winterson (b.1959) English Novelist, Journalist
Creative people who can’t help but explore other mental territories are at greater risk, just as someone who climbs a mountain is more at risk than someone who just walks along a village lane.
—R. D. Laing (1927–89) Scottish Psychiatrist
One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.
—John W. Gardner (1912–2002) American Activist
We may by our excessive prudence squeeze out of the life we are guarding so anxiously all the adventurous quality that makes it worth living.
—Randolph Bourne (1886–1918) American Writer, Scholar
Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.
—John Henry Newman (1801–90) British Theologian, Poet
Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.
—Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) American Writer
Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
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 (b.1944) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
Our lives improve only when we take chances—and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one.
—Max Lucado (b.1955) American Christian Author, Minister
Necessity is the mother of taking chances.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.
—Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) American Aviator
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author