by Jené Luciani for SHAPE.com
Take a chance today!While base jumpers have no problem putting their lives on the line to leap off of (super high) cliffs, many of us think asking out a cute stranger is too big of a risk. But attempting to protect ourselves from possible rejection, embarrassment, or whatever we fear can also make for a boring, unsatisfying life. Maybe a little gambling is all you need to turn a yawner lifestyle into a fun, fulfilling one.
Now's the time to place your bets, says Jake Steinfeld, creator of the Body by Jake line of fitness equipment, and author of Take a Shot! A Remarkable Story of Perseverance, Friendship, and a Really Crazy Adventure (Hay House, 2012). One of his biggest risks-creating Major League Lacrosse during the '90s when most professional sports leagues were fledgling-paid off: The MLL is now in its twelfth season. The trainer believes there are many ways everyone can take chances-small or big-every day to improve their lives and be happier, less stressed, and maybe even a few pounds lighter. Start with these five wagers and be ready to cash in.
1. A dream job: If you struggle each morning to find the motivation to leave for work, it's definitely time to consider what you'd rather be doing. "If you're not happy in your current career or situation," Steinfeld says, "you won't succeed because you only put your all into something if you love it." So when you see a hint of a chance for a new gig-at your current company, outside of it, or by starting your own-ask for what you want, he says. "You have to go for it to win it. From my experience, when someone makes you an offer, don't just settle-ask for more. The worst that can happen is they say no!"
2. Seeing the world: "You'll always be busy and worry about money, but you can't let these excuses stop you from traveling," Steinfeld says. That said, if a trip to Tahiti would eliminate half of your retirement fund, consider other options closer to home that provide the adventure, beaches, or leisure activities you're looking for. "Set aside $100 each month and at the end of a year, figure out where you can afford to go and just go," he says. "The idea is to find a way to do what you want in life and enjoy it, not to sit and wait for it to come to you."
3. A new home: Had enough of small-town rural life? Grown sick of always-on-the-go city living? Then it may be time for a move. "If you are miserable with your home or the city you live in, you will carry that with you wherever you go and it will affect everything you do," Steinfeld believes. Keep your budget , job location, and family dynamics in mind, of, but don't settle. "If you want something badly enough, you might have to sacrifice something else to make it work, whether it's a financial issue, geographical, logistical, or otherwise," he says. "Prioritize and you will figure out a way to make your most important desires become realities ."
4. Your own fashion statement: "One day I showed up to a lacrosse game wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which was very out of character for a fitness guy," Steinfeld recalls. "Things hadn't been going too well, but for some reason, our luck turned around. I started wearing those shirts to every game and they became my trademark!" While Steinfeld's attire likely had nothing to do with his team's success, making a small change in one area of your life-trying an exotic cuisine, going to a new church, calling a different friend every week instead of emailing-can spur all kinds of other positive changes for you.
5. A slammin' body: No matter how stalled your life may seem, you can always get a move on! Not only will it stimulate your muscles in new ways, it will also excite your brain, boosting your outlook and spurring new ideas. "Being active is good for both your mind and your body," Steinfeld says. And revamping your workout doesn't have to mean lifting pounds or hiking Machu Picchu, he adds. "If you like to walk, start there. Take a walk every day or as often as you can around your neighborhood. Or if you like to swim, do that. Ride a bike. Just do something! There are plenty of choices out there, so get moving and make it fun."