I think often we stress about chipping up right away when we sit down in a tournament. We sit there and start watching a few players run like God and build monster stacks. But truthfully, the early rounds in a tournament aren't supposed to be the time to chip up.. You should be slowly building your stack and not worrying about what others are doing. You're simply surviving. The pot sizes are too small as it is to have any affect on whether you're going to final table or not. But you can get yourself stuck in some really unfortunate hands by taking unnecessary risks early on just so you can chip up.
Early on you need to play tight. If you want to limp in a few hands with some suited connectors by all means get in there, but pay attention to your position at the table and how aggressive the players are behind you. Most likely in early stages you're left with 3-6 players seeing a flop. There's too much texture and variables out there to get yourself in a pickle. If you hit that dream flop, or get insane pot odds
, make your move. If not, don't be stupid and start trying to steal insignificant pots just so you can start chipping up. There's too many players in the hands and if you don't have a made hand somebody else does or is drawing hard to get one.
Later stages of tournaments offer great opportunities to chip up. If you've made it this far everyone at the table has a lot more invested time and interest since they're closer to cashing. Not to mention because of the blind levels it's a good opportunity to scoop larger stacks. You've had the opportunity now if you've been at your table awhile to observe your opponents. Now you can start taking more calculated risks.
If you feel like your getting "the sickness" I call it, where you're short stacked, this isn't the end of the world. At larger levels you have an excellent chance if patient enough to play great position poker and steal pots that there's little texture and not much aggression. If you do get it in pre-flop, best to get in with a pair, don't fall in love with AJ or AQ unless you have position and there's no pre-flop raise. You don't need to shove here, betting 3-4x the size of the BB gets you the same information as going all-in without having to give up all your chips.