leaping

Risk takers live happier lives. It’s science. But whether you were born with a will to thrill or not, you can learn to leap and take calculated risks in life. You may fail, you may succeed, but at least you know that you have truly lived!

Comfort and security are quite nice, but if you are in a rut and your life needs a kick in the butt, use the extra day that is February 29th 2012 as an excuse to do something wild and fantastic. Here are 29 leaps to take!

1. Go bungee jumping. Thousands of people agree that bungee jumping is one of the greatest thrills on earth. Find a nearby bridge, tower or cable car to jump off of and make your heart pound like never before – and earn bragging rights forever.

2. Order a dish that you would never order. Risks don’t have to all be death defying like the bungee jump. Just trying a new food can give you the same exciting sensations. Ditch the roasted chicken or veggie omelet and order a dish that you never have before.

3. Compliment a stranger. “What pretty eyes you have.” “You have such a warm smile.” “I love your outfit.” Everyone has had his or her day made by an offhand compliment from a stranger. Turn the tables and dole out some warm fuzzies yourself. If you are afraid of sounding creepy, just wait until you are in a retail situation and compliment your barista, server or auto mechanic.

4. Say “yes” to a bizarre invitation. Unknown, uncontrollable social situations make some people break out in hives – but if you limit yourself only to the familiar, you are missing out on a world of fun. The next time you are invited somewhere and have the urge to automatically turn it down, say “yes” instead and watch your horizons broaden.

5. Speak up when you see something wrong. Did some asshole just cut in line at the bank in front of an old woman, throw a bag of trash on the ground or call their kid a $%*#@* animal? Speak up and say something, and stand up for what is right.

6. Create something beautiful. Bust out whatever art supplies you have on hand: crayons, watercolors, paints or markers. And then let your creativity flow. Make something beautiful just for yourself, and hang the finished result on your refrigerator door.

7. Go out at night alone. Find a dance club, music venue or new bar that you have been wanting to check out, and roll up alone, with no apologies. Enjoy your own company and savor your strength.

8. Wish upon a star. When is the last time you looked up in wonder and said, “Star light, star bright?” Find your favorite sky diamond, close your eyes and make a wish.

9. Dance. Don’t think. Don’t judge. Don’t feel silly. Don’t stop. Just dance!

10. Smile at a cute stranger. Whether you are single and loving it or attached at the hip to your partner, there’s no harm in throwing a smile at a stranger.

11. Book a last-minute trip and GO. Perhaps you can’t jet off to Paris for a month, but there is no doubt a destination that’s doable for your schedule and budget. For the best deals, check out conglomerating travel sites such as kayak.com, as well as coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social.

12. Wish “Happy Leap Day” to everyone you encounter on February 29. They will probably think you are weird and may give you a funny look. Relish it.

13. Send flowers to an old friend. Make sure it’s not their birthday or a holiday, and have a big bouquet of flowers delivered to someone in your life that certainly deserves it.

14. Incite a crowd. The next time you go to see a music show or other live entertainment event, be the one in the crowd that is hooting, hollering, clapping and heating things up. Watch the ripple effect as your enthusiasm infects everyone around you.

15. Ask for a raise. With the economic drudgery going on, it might have been a while since you asked for or received a raise. The time has come. Prepare your list of concrete reasons why you deserve a raise, and ask your boss in the morning for best results.

16. Make eye contact with homeless people. Even better, smile and say hello. The homeless have hopes and dreams just like you, and most people just pretend like they don’t exist at all.

17. Apply even though you’re under-qualified. So you want to be a professional organizer (or cake decorator, or tour guide), but you feel that you’re under-qualified for the job. Apply anyway! Don’t knock yourself down before you ever get to the starting line… they might be looking for a newbie to train.

18. Fail on purpose. Try something that you know you’ll be horrible at: bowling, water skiing or racing those little cars at the video arcade. Let all your airs go and just enjoy the fun of losing.

19. Adopt a dog from a shelter. Yes, dogs are complete pains that take up immense amounts of time and leave behind turds and piss. However, the benefits a pup bestows far outweigh the negatives, and you may discover the most profound relationship of your life.

20. Attend a religious service that you have never been to before. Expose yourself to a new spiritual way of thinking.

21. Write down your biggest goal or dream, and tack it up where you will see it multiple times each day.

22. Forgive someone. There is someone in your past that has wronged you, and hurt you, and taken from you more than they gave. Forgive them completely and let go of those negative feelings that you have been hauling around.

23. Start a savings plan for something fantastic. Whether you want a home of your own, a trip around the world or a round of classes at the Cordon Bleu, you can save up for the experience – it’s all about priorities. Make your dream your priority and start saving today, even if the amount you can afford is small. It will grow.

24. Go to the doctor. Have you been putting off a medical appointment that you know you need because you are afraid of what the outcome might be? Would you want a loved one to forgo medical care? Of course not. Do yourself and your family a favor and set the health appointment that you know you need.

25. Get rid of your TV. It’s a double-dog dare that most Americans wouldn’t dream of doing, but if you can get rid of your television set, you will see the quality of your life improve dramatically.

26. Invest in something your gut believes in. Forget all the financial forecasts and investment gloom and doom. The economy will turn around, and those who can invest now stand to earn a great deal. Choose a stock from a company that you believe in, and don’t look back.

27. Head out on the open road. Fill your gas tank, load up a cooler with drinks and snacks, grab your best buddy and hit the open road. Where are you going? Who knows! Teach yourself that the journey matters just as much, if not more, than the destination.

28. Tell a joke in a crowd. Figure out your favorite joke and practice telling it in the privacy of your own home. When the next party rolls around, take the plunge and tell the joke to a group of friends and strangers.

29. Accept yourself, flaws and all. Perhaps the biggest risk we can take in life is love, starting with the greatest love of all. Stand naked in your mirror and shower yourself with loving compliments, out loud, and if you feel silly doing this then go with it: “Damn look at that hottie! Hey baby you got some fries with that shake? What a beautiful masterpiece stands before me!” Cultivate your confidence and you will automatically be willing to take more risks in life.

image: Sabrina’s Stash