first step: define your goal
second step: develop a plan to achieve your goal
third step: have the courage to execute said plan, even if it means you might bubble
So what is your goal? is it just to cash? That's ok if it is. For most of us, the longer we've been playing we are not happy to just cash anymore. we'd rather go out on the bubble trying to build a stack to run deep. but if it is your goal to simply cash, please realize that this will usually ruin your chances of running deep unless you get very lucky on the bubble (pick up AA vs AK and QQ and you hold up....something like that).
let's assume your goal is to min-cash. First you need to know your stack size relative to the average stack and median stack, and how many hands or "orbits" you can afford to fold before you're essentially all in in the BB.
it's really all about relative stack sizes and less about cards at this point. for instance if there are 93 players left and 90 are paid and you are in 45th chip position (meaning pretty good chance of coasting into the money). Now say a player who barely has you covered open shoves and you hold AKs. what to do? well, if you just want to cash then you fold this all the time. Even though it is a great hand. Now make the situation that you are in 88th chip position and a player who barely has you covered open ships and you have AKs. well, now this is basically a mandatory shove for you. Sure, you might lose and bubble....but because villain's chip stack likely means he is in desperate mode, you rate to be nicely ahead here or at least flipping most the time. And most importantly, you ARE in danger of blinding out soon before the money anyways.
let me tell you the agony of watching the bottom of the leaderboard while you blind away folding perfectly playable hands like 44 and ATs just waiting for those bottom 3 guys to bust out...but what happens instead? a couple of them double up now they surpass you...now you've blinded yourself into 91st or 92nd position and how you WISH you could have that small pocket pair or Ace medium back so you could ship with it..but now the best hands you're getting dealt are Q6o and the like....and guess what? when you finally do pick up a playable hand like 99 or AQ your all in is certain to get called and you'll be "flipping" for your tourney life, but often in a multiway pot. I'd say it's better to get this flipping unpleasantness over with back when a double up would really mean something for your chances to run deep.
so, if your real goal is to not bubble and at least min cash....the best way to do this is to build a nice stack in the middle rounds before the bubble. take some tolerable risks there when the bubble isn't in your line of sight yet. then you'll have enough chips to coast into the money.
turns out, this is ideal strategy for those players who want to run deep also. Arrive at the bubble with a medium to big, comfortable stack and then abuse the bubble by picking on the tight survivors.
my favorite quote when dealing with bubble questions:
To truly live, you must be willing to die.