Investing a lot of money is the path many people take, and an index fund is certainly easier and less timely than doing research to find stocks that can produce above market returns.
I’m not advocating timing the market. #3 is Time In The Market instead of timing the market (i.e. your journey is 14 years in the making instead of it just starting a year ago).
I’m still an advocate for doing the additional research to find stocks with potential to beat the market, but if you’ve got #1 and #3, you can make it without #2.