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Are You Suffering From Depression or Depression Prone? Don't Do A Startup!


With some regularity, I read articles about some amiable, accomplished, and brilliant young mind that decides to end their life during the first phase of their start-up scene. Silicon Valley's doctor dialogue was no joke (even though it was exaggerated to be funny). 

For reference, the dialogue went like so:

Doctor: You know, a while back, we had a guy in here in almost the exact same situation, "take the money or keep the company".

Richard: What happened?

Doctor: Well, a couple months later he was brought into the ER with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I guess he really regretted not taking that money.

Richard: He shot himself because he turned down the money?

Doctor: Yeah. Or no, he took the money. Or no. No, he did not. You know what? I don't remember. But whatever it was, he regretted it so much that he ended up shooting himself.

Invariably, people manage to come a very long way, and then they hit a snag that brings forth personal demons that they thought they'd buried a long time ago. The truth is that no matter what board room you're hiding in, your past, unprocessed, will always come to find you.

Running a company is hard enough for those who aren't suffering from depression or such things, and one of the most important things you have to remember is that especially in the beginning, start-ups are an extension of their founders. Inevitably, the founder will blame themselves if a company fails, even if that may not be the case at all. If you were able to do things without being haunted by your past, then by extension, the failure of your startup was technically not because you lacked skill or knowledge, you were just not ready to emotionally invest in your business. It is precisely because of this that you should avoid starting a business if you're depression-prone and are unable to get adequate help before things begin.

"Everything you touch dies."

Spoken by someone who had done a lot of harm to me and to someone I cared for. I'll never forget it. In fact, with every friendship I build now, with every opportunity I take nowadays, those words are stuck on 'play' like a broken record.

For some reason, Startups are a magnet for people that suffer from depression. I think it makes sense, though. A person who suffers from depression wants to build a great world for themselves, and one of the better ways to do that is to invent a business instead of joining businesses in a world that you deem unfair or cruel. In the end, though, you're really shooting yourself in the foot. 

An angry dog that breaks off from his leash never makes the most logical decision.

I’ve had just about all I can take of young men and women ending their lives because they couldn’t cope with some perceived failure. Failure is the norm when you're running a business, especially in the beginning. It's why you have to have the mental disposition to shrug it off and say "Hmmm... why did this not work? How can I change it?" instead of getting caught up in the emotion of it all. Your ego, in this case, will be your greatest enemy. Your only "rock bottom" is when you decide to stop digging, folks. Failure is your personal threshold for pain.

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