Entrepreneurial Psychopathology and the 'Warrior Mentality'

APRIL 22, 2015
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

The US Armed Forces has a problem with soldier suicide and depression.

“In early 2013, the official website of the United States Department of Defense announced the startling statistic that the number of military suicides in 2012 had far exceeded the total of those killed in battle—an average of nearly one a day. A month later came an even more sobering statistic from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: veteran suicide was running at 22 a day—about 8,000 a year.”

The situation became so dire that a former US Secretary of Defense called suicide in the military an “epidemic.”

Medicine has its problems too. It’s estimated that at least 400 US doctors kill themselves every year. Many are struggling with depression, anxiety, or addiction.

Now, add to the list entrepreneurs. Depressed serial entrepreneurs are coming out of the closet and advocating for awareness and change.

The commonality among of these groups seems to be a "warrior mentality" that encourages soldiers, doctors, and entrepreneurs to suck up and repress feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, or depression, to "fake it till you make it" or to hide things for fear of retribution or adverse consequences. The military, medical and entrepreneurial cultures see those with self-doubt as weak or cowardly.

In addition, at least successful serial entrepreneurs (who thrive on success, like to drive fast, take chances, make money, and learn something along the way), their innate make-up might make them susceptible to breakdowns.

Everyone pays the price for their choices, whether they accept it or not. But, our infatuation with successful entrepreneurs comes at a price we would rather not see, let alone accept.
 



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