This is an excerpt from Marty Klein’s latest book, The Enlightened Gambler, The Heart and Spirit of the Risk Taker in All of Us.

Allow me to guide you to a higher, more conscious road, away from any negativity about gambling and toward a better understanding of the energies and emotions that motivate us to want to take risks.

First of all, let me be clear about one thing: Everybody gambles.

Most people, though, don’t think of it as gambling. But it is. Am I just playing with semantics? I don’t think so.

Everybody makes numerous decisions each day of their lives.

Some of those choices work out well, while others turn out to be disasters.

Some of those decisions are minor, like getting stuck in traffic because you tried another route instead of your regular route. Oh, well. No big deal.

However, some decisions turn out to be major, like buying a house, having surgery, or getting involved in a new relationship.

If those decisions don’t work out, our lives are deeply affected in a negative way.

Those decisions or choices are gambles because you hope for the best but you really don’t know how it’s all going to work out. Right?

And sometimes we win—the house is great, the surgery went well and our lives are better off, or the new relationship is delicious.

And sometimes we lose—the house has problems we did not foresee, the surgery did not go well and there were unexpected complications, or the new relationship is fraught with conflict and pain.

So now, I give you permission to stand tall and proud when others try to make you feel guilty about your gambling. Be firm and don’t bother listening to any of that nonsense. Remember … everybody gambles, whether one admits it or not!

Now, with that monkey off your back, we can start looking at the energy that drives all of us to take risks every day, especially when we are totally unsure of the outcome.

After all my years as a therapist, I realize now that the juice of life takes place in the land of uncertainty.

The unknown is deeply connected to the mystery of life. There’s excitement and anticipation, as well as some anxiety, when we are not sure of the outcome.

Gamblers understand this on some intuitive level, even if they may not be aware of it. But now, we can celebrate our persistent desire to journey into that land of uncertainty.

And, personally, I feel sorry for all the people who are just too scared to risk anything. Their lives are ordered, secure, safe and, I believe, incredibly dull, but many of them seem to have no problem acting righteous toward those of us who gamble.

We all are blessed with free will and we each get to choose the kind of life we desire. I will continue to wish those people well.

However, I think the biggest mistake anyone can make in life is to never take a chance.

As the saying goes, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained out.”

But you’ve got to show up to play. It’s so important to remember that life offers us precious jewels when we stay open to the mystery. Remember the CHANCE card in Monopoly? The big question mark of life has unlimited possibilities if you are willing to take a chance.