The Overlooked Reason Entrepreneurs Are Vulnerable To Depression

Inc Magazine recently ran a great piece on “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship.”

The piece, which includes some revealing stories from entrepreneurs who found themselves on the brink, touches on some of the psychological reasons why entrepreneurs are particularly vulnerable, such as their tendency to feel emotions more strongly and take more risks than the average person.

But I think there’s one insight that’s missing, that explains a lot about why entrepreneurs are so vulnerable.

At its heart, entrepreneurship is about fighting to change reality.

An entrepreneur starts with nothing, then he or she need to beg, borrow, and steal (figuratively, though sometimes literally) to get a startup off the ground.  At every stage, the entrepreneur needs to convince people to join him or her in taking massive risks–this includes co-founders, investors, employees, and customers.

Entrepreneurs who attend accelerators like Y Combinator are coached to deliver polished, confident pitches that are filled with big visions.  I have yet to see a pitch where an entrepreneur said something like, “And if you don’t say yes, my company will probably go under.”

We expect entrepreneurs to defy conventional wisdom at every turn, then act surprised when they seem stressed about it.

As an entrepreneur, no matter how much you make time for family, eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep, your life is always going to be unusually stressful.  All the more reason then set aside time for the things that help you persevere.

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