5 Ways to Be Better at Risk-Taking

Portrait of Lorraine Lamm
Dan Winters

4. Think for Yourself

Everywhere, people use alarmist language, encouraging us to be risk-averse: A salesman will advise you to buy an insurance policy for whichever product he’s selling—from a toaster to a new mattress. Speak to a contractor and he’ll tell you how you need better waterproofing in your basement—just in case. Try to tune all this out. Use your common sense to reach a conclusion, then move forward. For example, if your basement has never flooded in 30 years, trust that it won’t start flooding now.

Benjamin Carson, M.D., is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, in Baltimore, and the author of Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live With Acceptable Risk ($20,

5. Take One Risk at a Time

A good rule of thumb for fashion and life: You should go big but not overboard. In other words, never wear all the trends at the same time. Don’t wear a dress covered in sequins with sky-high heels, numerous pieces of jewelry, and bold makeup. Instead, choose one statement: a short hem, a bright color, a standout accessory, and keep the rest simple. By doing so, you’ll increase your likelihood of success.

Jennifer Rade is a celebrity stylist and a costume designer based in Los Angeles and a frequent panelist on TV Guide’s Fashion Wrap.