We seem to only hear and idolize the classic rags to riches stories which end up hurting our chances and focus.

In the media, it’s the sensation around JLO coming from the Bronx to global superstar, in the athletics world, Cristiano Rinaldo growing up in the slums and now soccer powerhouse and in the startup world, Vlad Tenev from unknown foreign engineer to startup billionaire founder of the infamous Robinhood.

Yet we rarely come to terms with the chances the rest of the population have and how difficult it is to get the number one seat.

Will you be able to achieve your wildest dreams?

Who knows. But insisting it will happen in a few years, or easily, is a rookie mistake.

There are only a few coveted spots the Fortune 500 list can fill and YouTubers that billions will be attracted to for years to come. Not everyone will be able to turn their passion into a full-time gig, but that doesn’t mean life has to be boring and miserable.

Although most millionaires and beyond are self-made, many of them already grew up in privileged households that had the opportunity to move to the U.S. Those millionaires got a head start in the hubs of the field or had a parent with expertise in their area of interest.

Rows of cola bottles lined up with one bottle a different color

Image by Unsplash

Comparing yourself to one in a million will make you disappointed and ruin your chances.

Sticking to your own path and what you can control will put you in a better spot financially and mentally.

These top athletes, musicians, players, and a sliver of the population all got extremely lucky at the opportune time with preparation and seized it.

But we cannot forget how lucky we are as well.

Luck is many of the few determining factors of success that cannot be timed nor predicted yet it can be manifested through taking more chances, action, keeping your head in the game, and knowing what you are worth. Most people are afraid to reach for things they deserve and not go all-in on one thing.

There’s no doubt success strengthens the more consistent and dedicated one is, as well as the amount of time they stay in that certain space. But more often than not, these stories of ‘chasing passion’ and ‘realizing one’s true potential and scary of all, ‘doing what you love’ is unrealistic for most full-time.

Why such a negative tone?

I always say this and I’ll say it again: you have to be realistic and not put all your eggs in one basket.

Diversification of your portfolio to your career is key.

Just because so-and-so ‘made it’ doesn’t mean it will work for you. You don’t know their circumstances, inheritance, or way of thinking. There are thousands of factors that play into everything, and we have to realize even with more experience, education, degrees, prototypes, accolades, and expertise, we still might not make it as far as we hoped to — and that’s okay.

Where you are now is what you’ve built up your entire life.

Just think about that.

You had control and got to decide your every step. But that doesn’t mean where you are now is where you’ve hoped to be because life took over. Navigating it is hard.

There are always opportunities waiting for you and if they bring you joy and stability, that should lay the groundwork. Comparison is truly the theft of joy because you’ll never be happy if you expect everything to be fun 24/7.

If everything is going smoothly now, keep your passion on the side so you appreciate it more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of the U.S. population reports they want to be self-employed a.k.a scaling their passion yet roughly only 10 million out of 140 million, or 7% of Americans are full-time self-employed.

It’s scary and daunting to do something you love and test it out full-time. Any job can be stressful. But creating your own and relying on it might not be a smart move.

Men make up a majority of the self-employed which we shouldn’t be surprised by since they are known to be less risk-averse. This can increase burnout and a slippery slope in the long run without a plan or cash cushion.

All in all, we want what we don’t have. We always believe the grass is greener on the other side but more often than not, it isn’t. Be grateful for what you have and to enjoy life more, appreciate the small things. You’ll always be unhappy and desperate if you pinpoint the negatives. Your life is more often than not better than you expect.

A view of the Hollywood sign through some tall grass

Image by Unsplash

Know Your Chances

Before jumping into self-employed freelancer/influencer/entrepreneur/go-getter mode, it’s vital to confirm if you see your passion staying one or deviating once you take a more serious route.

After all, it’s a passion for a reason. It shouldn’t be abused. It should be something you look forward to doing when you can. It’s an activity, skill, and practice you genuinely do for an unknown amount of money squeezed into any spare time you can find.

Although economists and researchers argue today is the easiest and most convenient time to live in, it’s also immensely stressful, competitive, too convenient, and frustrating since everyone looks better off!

What we enjoy now, we might not enjoy later. With TikTok exhaustion and social media addictions, millions of self-employed folks are questioning their choices and why they didn’t consider the future.

Being realistic is your best bet. Spread out your options and test out that side-hustle on the SIDE first.

Enjoy it when you can not when you have to. Too much of anything is a bad thing.

We are all founders in our own way. Don’t chase the allure of the title or position. It isn’t as glamorous as one thinks. Working for a company is an incredible opportunity and just because others may be fleeing, doesn’t mean you should.

Allow your passion to be something you strive to enjoy after work as it used to be after school or on the weekends. We all need passions to keep us going. Turning your rocket dreams into a full-time job and entrepreneurial venture may work for Branson due to unusual circumstances but it may not for you and you’ll thank yourself later since you’ll have balance and find fulfillment in other areas of life.

Ask yourself, do you want a position where you wear many hats to support a whole crew and force that passion to support your lifestyle? Or would you rather have fun with it, continue at your own pace, reverse course, change it up, mess up, take unlimited risks and not tell anyone how much fun you’re having?

The more luck you have, the more successful you become. Before anything, have a plan, scenarios with a bunch of ‘what-ifs’, steady pay, and a support system. There’s no set timeline to life and where you are now isn’t where you will be. If you’re eager to try, practice monetizing your passion a bit.

Please don’t rush your plan or compare yourself to influencers or small business owners online. They aren’t doing as great as they may seem. All of your former colleagues traveling the world selling hats and beads on Etsy full-time aren’t pursuing a passion that was once fulfilling. They’ve most likely lost the drive for passion and have grown to love sales instead.

Always keep your devotion and spirit to something to stay sane.

Our childhood passions aren’t always meant to be businesses.

Choose wisely what you do with them. They can harm or heal you

About the author: Mia Gradelski

Hey I’m Mia, a NYU student passionate about blogging what’s on my mind all finance, tech, lifestyle-related. I'm also an investment analysis intern here at Atticus!

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