For millions of people, their wildest (and, often, only) dream is to win the lottery. Week after week they pick up tickets at their convenience store and wait to hear their numbers called.

Why is that? Dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover that many of these folks are convinced that such an event would be the solution to all of their problems.

But would it?

A closer look at the real lives of those who once picked the winning numbers shows a slightly different picture. A surprising number of lottery multimillionaires dispose of their newfound wealth rather quickly.

The same is true for many athletes and performers whose wealth arrived in an avalanche. Most of us, it appears, are far more successful when change of any sort is a gradual process.

But that’s not the whole story.

Recently, Paula Pant’s blog, Afford Anything, had an interesting post called How Would Your Life Change If You Had Millions? The article was inspired when her partner asked her what she would do if she found herself super wealthy?

Her reply? “Nothing would change. I’d do the same things I’m doing now: buy rental properties, run a website, write articles. I’d just do it on a bigger scale.”

Pant goes on to explore how people who handled their wealth really well were often people who had already been doing what they loved and just expanded their territory as they prospered.

The piece reminded me of one of my all-time favorite episodes of Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo, an interview with Dustin Hoffman.

At the end of the evening, during the Q & A with the students, Hoffman was asked, “Why do you act?” His answer was passionate and memorable.

He said, (and I’m paraphrasing a bit here), “If I hadn’t gotten the movie (The Graduate), I’d still be doing this. I would be doing this period. I would be doing this in community theater. I’d be teaching at some college or a repertory theater. I can do it anywhere—and I would.”

Even if you consider playing the lottery to be a pleasant hobby, stop fooling yourself that a windfall is the solution to making peace with money.

Instead, consider this observation from Mike Dooley: “Both having money and not having money make fantastic adventures possible that would not otherwise be possible. Same for having, and not having anything else.”