Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Kevin Jenkins | Choreographer

I have always sought risk. It’s terrifying but behind that door lies all the elements I want in life: a flexible schedule that I control, artistic opportunities, personal fulfillment, financial security, etc. When I was 18 I took my first dance class. I loved it and realized that if I had any chance of making it a career I had to give it my all. So I dropped all my academic classes in college and took a full load of dance classes while also enrolling in a local studio. I went from not dancing to dancing 8-10 hours a day. I found out quickly that I had a knack for it, so the risk paid off. Read more>>

Margarita Bellah | Animal rights activist and scientist

If I would not have taken any risks in my personal life or career, I would not have grown or had the experiences I’ve had until now. Every decision we make in our life involves some sort of risk, whether I am deciding what to eat for dinner, where to go for vacation or what to do for work. Some risks have higher consequences than others of course. I consider myself a person who can afford to take some risks, especially for my own development or for the ones I love. Immigrating to the US to be with the love of my life and leaving my career, country, family and friends behind was a huge risk. Read more>>

Chloe Lind | Clothing Designer

Risk-taking and discomfort are crucial. The most important risk in my life has been my emergency road-trip to Los Angeles forced by my mother. Freshly out of high-school, my father had passed away and I coped by disassociating through the most unhealthy ways, which slowly drained my passion for clothing, fashion and innovation. The risk weighed more heavily on my mother, who decided to quit her job on short notice, pack up all of our belongings and with maybe $800 total, move me 3,000 miles across the country so I could be closer to my sister, the sun, and restore any creative passion left within me! Read more>>

Kelli James | Artist, In Many Forms @artbytwiddle

I love this question! I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and I left the first chance I got. Small town life didn’t suit me, and I was brought up in an extremely abusive and dysfunctional family. I bounced around between careers and cities for many years, until I ended up moving to San Diego with my partner and the love of my life, and I haven’t looked back! My upbringing forced me into taking risks, and that is one thing I will never fear: not having a safety net has never bothered me, because I’ve never had one, not financial or familial. Read more>>

The Brothers Burns | Lyricism/Beat Box/Illustration

Burns 1: When I think about risk I think about pros and cons. Taking risk is a huge part of growth as an individual and an artist. We’ve had some amazing opportunities because of it and had a few setbacks as well. But all in all we certainly wouldn’t be where we are now without taking a few chances. Read more>>