“I look at Kristen Stewart now and I think, ‘I’d never want to be that famous.’ I can’t imagine how I’d feel if all of a sudden my life was pandemonium.” – Jennifer Lawrence

She’s 21 years old, was named one of People magazine’s Most Beautiful People in the World in 2011, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2010 for her stunning performance in Winter’s Bone, and is about to blast the doors of fame off their hinges with her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games…even though she’s never taken an acting class.

Who could be luckier than Jennifer Lawrence?

Well, while luck may have been involved, Lawrence’s road to success has been paved more so on ambition and determination. At the age of 14, she had such a conviction that her path in life was to be an actress, she convinced her parents to allow her spend a summer in the New York City in hopes of finding a talent agent. Her parents clearly were supportive of their daughter’s dream, and allowed her to leave her Kentucky home base. Once in New York, instead of finding a talent agent, a talent agent found her, that is, during a modeling shoot. The agent invited her to do a cold read to which Lawrence received high praise despite her only training being from church plays. She did end up staying in New York City that summer, and appeared in commercials for MTV’s My Super Sweet 16.  From that point on, Lawrence committed to her school work load, and graduated high school two years early to begin her career as an actress.

How many high school students do you know with this kind of determination? To label Lawrence as lucky would be to minimize all that she really brought to her career advancements. Her ambition has been unwavering right from the start. So what if that talent agent never discovered her that day? Do you think that would have stopped her? Of course not. According to Jennifer, becoming an actress “didn’t feel like a choice at the time, and it still doesn’t.”

According to a recent New York Times opinion piece, The Go-Nowhere Generation, a side effect from the slow economy has been for young Americans to become “risk-averse and sedentary.” This stuck-at-home mentality at a minimum prevents teens from getting their driver’s licenses, and at worst hurts the economy as young adults take fewer risks with their investments and job opportunities. Kids who grow up during tough economic times also tend to believe that luck plays a bigger role in one’s success, which breeds complacency. “Young people raised during recessions end up less entrepreneurial and less willing to leave home because they believe that luck counts more than effort,” said Paola Giuliano, an economist at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

The fact that Lawrence took risks and went to where she felt the work was, shows entrepreneurial grit. She once stated, “I like when things are hard; I’m very competitive. If something seems difficult or impossible, it interests me.” Let’s hope she maintains that positive spirit with her new mega-star fame—and all the pandemonium that unfolds!