Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads. The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever. But risks are inherently…risky. How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career? Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Linda Gass | Environmental Artist and Activist

With very few exceptions, my best experiences and most satisfying projects in life have come from risk-taking. Taking risks has enabled me to learn new skills, taught me to be more comfortable with the unknown and discomfort. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today if I hadn’t taken the risk of walking away from a successful career in the software industry where I was managing large projects alongside brilliant and wonderful colleagues. Read more>>

Andrew Strano | Musical Theatre Writer, Playwright, Lyricist, and Teacher

Let’s be real. Writing for theatre is hardly the most risky job in the world. Not even close. We aren’t saving people from burning buildings, or diffusing bombs – we’re working hard to try and put… I don’t know… true… little pieces of ourselves out into the world for other people to see. Read more>>

Ni/Co | Songwriter/Artists & Creators

Taking risks is probably the biggest factor in our careers AND lives together! taking the leap to invest in us and our music full time a few years back was the most terrifying thing we ever did. We both left the stability and comfort (and financial safety) of full time jobs in other fields and decided to pursue our music and build our brand full time. Read more>>

Brooke Ann | Personal Stylist

I believe that there is risk in anything. Starting a business is considered risky, but so is a 9-5 job. Relying on your income all on your own is risky. Relying on an employer who can fire you at any given moment is risky. I think we often give the meaning of risk as fear and uncertainty but even the most certain thing you can think of comes with a risk. Read more>>

Alexandra Perlman | Artist/Performer

As an artist/performer who has studied singing, dancing, and acting, I can confidently say that taking a risk is the best thing you can do to grow in your field. Depending on the specific art form, the risk you take could be the decision to hit that high note in a song you’re intimidated by, using your full capacity of movement for the choreography even if it feels wrong, or making a bold character choice that may seem like it’s too much in the monologue or scene. Read more>>

Anna Lee Xin Ning | Soap Maker

Ironically, I was never a risk taker. All my life, I have chosen the “safe” paths my parents laid out before me. I steered clear of risks and had and still have a dream of becoming an educator. My parents were both teachers, they signed me up for ballet, piano, arts & calligraphy classes because I was interested in them—though none of them lasted. When I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Education, they thought I was going to walk down the education path—the safe path they had set out for me. Read more>>

Yichen Cai | Film/TV/Game/Multimedia Composer

To be honest, I just made a huge risk-taking decision to enter this field. I gave up my original career in journalism, which seems to be a more stable life choice in the eyes of others. Everyone around me, including my teachers, my peers, my close friends, and even my parents voiced their huge objection to this decision. Read more>>

Johnny Neang | Managing Partner

Risk is an assessment of a cost-benefit opportunity where I weigh the potential net benefits of the outcomes. We take on risks daily; some larger than others. The larger and abstract risks are the ones that take a bit more foresight and thinking to make sure we’re not solely relying on luck. Once you start taking enough risks and often enough, you realize that you can hedge your chances when you build risk as a personal skill. Read more>>

Pietro Cornini | Film & Commercial Director

Risk has always been a very important factor in my life, I think risk-taking is something that you must do to achieve your needs and wants, especially when you want to put yourself into the art world. I’ve taken a very big risk in my life when I was 20 and that single risk made me reach today the job that I love.  Read more>>

Yael Givon | Visual Development Artist

I think what makes us so scared of taking risks is the fear of losing something we hold dear. It could be easier to take a risk if what’s on the line is not as important to us, or if we’re unhappy with our current situation. It get’s complicated when the price is high. Though without taking some risks, there will be no room for advancement or change in our lives. Read more>>

Martha Staab | Registered Nurse & US Country Coordinator for CAREUSTZ

Risk vs Benefit is the mantra I repeat when it comes to taking risks. It’s a phrase we use in the medical field often, when considering treatment options and diagnostic tests. Does the risk outweigh the benefit? This thought process allows me to really consider the advantages as well as the challenges and exposure of a decision. Read more>>

Marissa Gill | Actor and model

I think I’ve always lived my life with a lot of risk. In my opinion, no risk no reward as cliche as that may sound. I have always had big dreams and aspirations, I think if you ever decide to follow your dreams you are taking a risk. When I first decided to follow my heart and pursue a career in acting I had to drop everything with zero knowledge of the industry and no idea how to navigate or even know where to start. Read more>>

Kalee Choiniere | Painter

Some time back in 2009 I was absolutely obsessed with Third Eye Blind. I was an angsty young girl, age 15, edging on the manic artistic virtue of pop punk— I *felt everything*. Stephan Jenkins came out with his album, Ursa Major— the lyrics of this album surged through my veins— specifically the track Bonfire, “…we could live like Kings if we take a risk, or we could live in doubt”. Read more>>

Terell Horton | Music producer: eNoffMusic

Risk taking is tricky in my opinion. For me, a lot of the risks I’ve taken have come from the fact that I didn’t have much of a choice otherwise. Funny enough, if I hadn’t taken the risks I’ve taken, I would be in a much worse place no doubt. That being said, you have to be wise about the risks you take. Sometimes the results of the risk can be more damning than whatever the opposite is. Careful consideration is key. Read more>>

Penelope Dizad | Concert and Event Organizer & Digital Marketing Expert

I love taking risks! As long as they are calculated! And I believe it’s an absolute necessity for positive and continuous career growth as well as personal growth wether it leads to success or failure. Read more>>

Varun Bather | Systems Thinker| Design Researcher| Redesigner for Justice

Before even talking about Risk, I would like to acknowledge that it has been a very privileged journey supported by my parents, and people around me. This support has allowed me to be stubborn about my path, even when I have “failed” or learned. Hence, I think about risk as a way to run, fall, get up and run again towards “following my heart.” Read more>>

Jessica Lim | Photographer

Technically, every choice and every thing you do is a risk, big or small. To motivate yourself and keep moving forward in life, it’s important to constantly have some sort of risk happening in play at all times. I think the worst thing you could do is keep stagnant, because then that means you’re not evolving as a person, in your career, in your relationships — anything! The only solid thing you can rely on while taking risks is that you will always learn something valuable from whatever happens. Read more>>

Eric Arnold | DJ/Tour Manager

Risk has played a huge role in my life/career. There was a point in my life where I took a risk and left the comfort of my 9-5 job to pursue becoming a DJ. If I never took that risk, I would of never have gotten to where I am at in my career today. That career change was extremely scary at first because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I put myself in a situation where I had no choice but to succeed. Read more>>

Kareem Dixon | Dula’s Neighborhood, The Art of Learning Mental Wellness Program

I believe risk is having the trust and faith when deliberately taking a chance, or making a change in life/career. Not knowing what lies ahead and having no fear. It is the ultimate belief in my skills, abilities and adaptability when working towards dreams/goals. Read more>>

Michael Bliss | Outdoor & Adventure Photographer

I think risk taking is necessary when you are making the leap to work for yourself. When I started my career in 2018 I booked a one way ticket to New York City to start my video company even though I had no clients at the time. I view risk as a calculated tool you can use to advance and keep pushing yourself to level up. Read more>>

Sam Kogon | Musician & Songriter

When I look back at it, any successes or any moments that have moved me forward are from taking chances, and just putting myself out there, even if it’s simply emailing people or asking them questions. I think that is a big hang up that a lot of artists have (including myself). It’s always a good reminder that it never hurts to reach out to someone and ask them to listen to my music, collaborate or play a show. If they say no or pass, you’re exactly where you were before reaching out and no harm done…but if they vibe and are into the music, it can be a great experience. Never be afraid to ask questions! Read more>>

Duncan Sherwood-Forbes | Artist & Designer

Risk taking has been a major consideration throughout my career. As an artist, I seek to speak my truth no matter what – but which truth do I want to speak? I can seek to capture something beautiful and find the inner truth of a subject through a portrait, to tell a universal truth through poetry and conversation with others, to speak truth to power and tell them what I think of them, or to tell the truth of my struggles. Read more>>

Kersteen Anderson | Artist

I have never been afraid to take risks. They have appeared as growth choices in many forms throughout my life, as a child and as an adult….. Read more>>

Kyla Chaney | Dancer & Teacher

Being an artist and pursuing a career in dance, I have had to think about risk taking for as long as I decided to follow through with this unconventional career. I’ve not only purposefully placed myself in uncomfortable situations, but sometimes life has left me with no choice but to thrive in them. Read more>>

Jenessa Acosta | DJ & Producer

to me life is all about taking risks! without risk theres no success or in some cases failure, which leads to growth. Read more>>

Jaclyn Gramigna | Director | Writer | Producer

Choosing filmmaking (or any art form) as a career, is an obvious risk because no matter how talented you are, or how tirelessly you work, there is no guarantee you will succeed in making your art your career. I have to be a little crazy and/or narcissistic to even believe it’s possible to make directing films a sustainable career. In reality, feature films are insanely risky investments, so it’s a miracle that anything (other than Marvel movies) gets made. Read more>>

Rebekka Lien | Actress, Musician, Artist

I was recently a winner in a game show called Culture Shock. In the beginning, I was really nervous and didn’t think I would win. The girl hit the buzzer faster than me. I was recuperating from a breakup and felt emotional, sometimes I felt numb. So I’m staring at the screen not knowing what’s being said. She wins 3 of the questions and I lose. I think to myself, she for sure is going to win. She picks 3 of the largest prize questions. Read more>>