Taking a Chance and Making a Mistake

So, let me ask you a question, have you ever held back from doing something for your self or your business because it was too risky?

We probably all have done that at one time or another.

Taking a chance usually means we have something to lose, and many of us shy away from losing. Let’s face it, no one wants to lose.

Still, taking chances is an integral part of life, and if we want our lives to change for the better, we have to become more aware of what we are willing and not willing to risk.

Let’s explore what taking a chance means to you, and what makes it such a risky proposition

Take a moment and look back on your life and think of a time when you took a chance at something. It can be anything – big or small, at work, or in your personal life.

Next, I would like you to identify a time in your life when you made a mistake at something. Again, it can be anything – big or small, at work, or in your personal life. A ‘mistake’ can be regarded as something we wish we could go back and do differently.

Now grab a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the center, dividing the paper into two halves.

Label the two columns with the following two phrases:

  • Label the first column: “Taking a Chance”
  • Label the second column: “Making a Mistake”

With the experiences of ‘taking a chance’ and ‘making a mistake’ fresh in your mind, take two minutes to write down in each column what the two phrases “Taking a Chance” and “Making a Mistake” personally mean to you.

Now that you have answered the questions, “What does it mean to take a risk?”, and “What does it mean to make a mistake?

Now, answer the following questions.

  • What link do you see between these two phrases – ‘taking a chance’ and ‘making a mistake’?
  • Where do you focus most of your time and energy: a) on taking a chance, or b) on avoiding a mistake?
  • How does your concern about making mistakes impact your willingness to take chances?”

The single most important message to take away from this is:

“The biggest risk in life is not the possibility of making a mistake; it’s never trying in the first place.”

We are constantly taking chances in life whether we realize it or not. When you get on a plane, cross a street, or just walk down the sidewalk, you run the risk of something bad happening. As much as we try, we cannot completely avoid risk.

Taking a chance to do something new or different does take effort, especially if you are uncertain of the results.


We sometimes think that doing nothing is being neutral or safe. That isn’t always the case. Doing nothing can actually be negative.

The comfort zone we live in can be very seductive. Everyone desires comfort, but too much comfort can work against us, because an inability to step out of our comfort zone limits our potential.

Many people avoid taking chances because they are afraid. Being trapped by fear and refusing to take a chance leads to a safe, boring, and mediocre life.

People with this mentality do not thrive, learn, love, or grow to their fullest potential because they will never step out of their comfort zones and take a chance.

You explore, discover and maximize your potential only by having the courage to take risks.


Famous race car driver Mario Andretti once said, ‘If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

There are many reasons why people avoid taking risks, and the 5 that I want to share with you are:

  1. Failure – I might not get what I’m aiming for.
  2. Exposure – If it doesn’t work out, it might reflect negatively on me.
  3. Embarrassment – If I push for something, and it doesn’t work out, I could be judged by others.
  4. Rejection – If the risk fails, I could be rejected by others.
  5. Loss – If I try something new or different, I might have to give up what’s familiar.

Which of these 5 is the reason that you avoid risk?

There are 5 powerful perspectives on risk taking that will empower you to take more chances in life.

  • Take the Plunge –
  • Say ‘Yes’ to Life –
  • Go Out on a Limb –
    • The view will be much better from there, and you are bound to find some fruit.
  • Swing for the Fences –
    • If you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.
    • Most people spend too much time pondering what won’t work and as a result justify why it’s best to take no action at all.
  • Roll the Dice –
    • Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.
    •  If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.

Taking chances can simply be a matter of perspective. Those who are more willing to take chances are looking at what they stand to gain, rather than what they could lose. They also know that even though something may not work out, no decision is catastrophic.

If we look logically at what we stand to lose and what we stand to gain, and make an educated decision, we truly can’t lose when taking chances.

In fact, if you are consistently taking risks in life you will ultimately come out ahead.

Thomas Edison failed thousands of times when creating the light bulb before he finally succeeded. No matter how many failings he experienced, he only needed to succeed once. Today, he is known as one of the most famous inventors of all time.

Happiness in life comes from acknowledging the need for change and being willing to try something new because the status quo is no longer working

Take a moment to think of a risk you have been hesitant to take.

Now, weigh the possible losses and rewards you might encounter if you took that risk by downloading and completing “The Rewards of Risk Taking.”

  • What did you notice when you identified the possible rewards of taking the risk instead of just focusing on the losses?
  • Why identify possible rewards when assessing risk? What does this do for you?
  • What did you learn from this exercise?

If you play it safe, you will not reach your full potential of happiness and success.

As hockey great Wayne Gretzky once put it, ‘You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’

Failure is inevitable. EVERYONE fails. But this much is true – no risk, no reward. And remember, you only need to succeed once no matter how many times you meet with failure. Sometimes being right on just one risk you’re willing to take is all you need to change your life forever!