As a rule of thumb, the most “successful” people I know are depressed and brutal on themselves. These are people with extreme wealth and by all accounts innovators and high-performers in their fields.
This isn’t just my experience; a recent study by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco detailed the personality, mood, and human factors that are common among entrepreneurs in which:
- Self-reported mental health concerns were present across 72% of the entrepreneurs in this sample, a proportion that was significantly higher than that of the comparison group.
- 49% reported having one or more lifelong mental health conditions, 32% reported having two or more lifelong #mental health conditions.
- The entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to report a history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%) and bipolar diagnosis (11%) than were comparison participants.
- 5.4% of the entrepreneur participants were suicidal, more than double the control group (2%).
This cultivates a subterranean culture of isolation that breeds further anxiety, depression, and self-hatred – especially among young professionals who already overwhelmingly struggle with imposter syndrome.
As you'll hear in this discussion, I am one of the 32% of entrepreneurs with two or more mental health conditions. As someone diagnosed with ADHD, generalized anxiety, and bipolar II, it's something I cope with on a daily basis both in my professional and personal life.
George Kapernaros is a marketing consultant based in Athens, Greece with a degree in Political Science & International Relations. His innovative work is at the intersection of behavioral marketing, retention, and applied conversion psychology, which he has applied to over 200 product launches and multi-million dollar campaigns.
Some of the topics we discussed further:
- Are entrepreneurs more likely to have ADHD?
- How business partners expose strengths and weaknesses.
- The struggle of dealing with imposter syndrome.
- Marcus Aurelius, stoic stress testing, and behemoth to-do lists.
- Childhood influences, over-achievement, and abusive self-talk.
- Is balance even achievable as an entrepreneur?
- Self-moderation, and the momentum trap.
- Implanted aspirations, and what is a "free" life?
- Risk-taking, and the illusion of security.
- Consuming vs creating, and scarcity vs growth mindsets.
- Turnover, mindless corporate growth, and the compound interest of bad decisions.
- The struggle of passion projects vs maintaining cash flow.
- What you can learn from studying comic books, conmen, and cults.
- Marketing, the randomness of success, and the importance of testing your beliefs.
- The butterfly effect of stress, caffeine, nootropics, and health optimization.
- AI, UBI, and jobs of the future.
- The looming issue of climate change, and how to prepare for the disruptions ahead.
Connect with George:
Music by Kirby Johnston – check out his band Aldaraia on Spotify