Gradual change drags inertia with it. A radical change can achieve escape velocity.
Your life does not separate easily into discrete boxes, independent of one another. Some people are better than others at building those barriers, but no one can create truly impermeable ones. As your income rises, so do your expenses. As your accomplishments stack up, so does your stress. And so on.
This isn’t a good thing, but it often happens. If you got a steady 10% increase in your income every year for ten years, then at the end of ten years you’d be in relatively the same position of wealth as you were to begin with, just maybe (maybe!) with nicer stuff. It takes more discipline than most people realize, and certainly more than most people have, to increase their income year over year but maintain the same level of frugality.
But if your income suddenly doubled in a single year? Well, there are certainly plenty of people who go bananas in that circumstance and even end up worse off. But for many people the system shock can result in a careful examination of your circumstances. You can say, “okay, I’m making 100% more money, but I could be really happy with only a 20% increase in my living standard and be saving & investing a LOT towards my future.” That’s the smart play.
That’s the high-risk, high-reward scenario. The big promotion that can come with plenty of extra stress, in and out of work. The move to a new city that can have lots of rewards but plenty of distractions. The radical shift.
It’s not for everyone. But some people are born to greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them, so it’s good to give some thought about what you’d do if that shift came to your door. And if you do that, and like what you’re envisioning, then maybe you don’t wait for it to knock after all. You go find it.