Over the past few years, the concern for mental health is the talk of everyone. No matter what industry you are working with, whether it’s a 9 to 5 type job, which gives job security or entrepreneurship, which is a rollercoaster experience. All of us are going through some psychological issues and wild thoughts are running inside us. It is evident that entrepreneurs are the one who is facing it more than anyone. Indians have a very low tolerance for failure. Entrepreneur’s failure in India is seen as a shame and indignity. The social stigma of failure in Indian society doesn’t improve. It’s different in the west, where failure is seen as a learning experience, not a shame. In India, if a startup fails, then nobody wants to involve with you.
Last year shock the world of entrepreneurship by the news of VG Siddhartha, founder of Café Coffee Day, who committed suicide. Many of us can’t digest the fact that Siddhartha, who is highly admired for his vision of creating India’s largest cafe chain Café Coffee Day, will take such extreme steps. CDEL has a debt close to ₹5,000 crores, and he was not able to take that burden, which led him to suicide. The reason behind Siddhartha’s case is that he does not share his problem with anyone and jump into the conclusion of ending his life.
The problem of an entrepreneur’s failure can be tackled by three kinds of support – financial, legal and emotional. In India, the government is providing all through their campaigns like Startup India and Make In India. For emotional support, there are platforms such as Entrepreneurs Anonymous – which helps entrepreneurs in coping with the problem which they are going through. We need a society where the vulnerability of failure can be accepted.
Blown-up by success stories of the company like OLA, Paytm, Flipkart and heightened investment activity in India, there is a large number of youths who start dreaming of startup by ignoring the dark side of entrepreneurship, i.e., the small success rate of Indian startups.
“A 2017 report by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics
found that 90% of Indian Startups fail in the first five years.”
The Ugly Side of Creativity
Creativity is like a double-faced coin in which; one is full of strength and positive behavior while the other side is the weakest and full of negative thoughts. The most creative mind has the most destructive thoughts. The same thing is in the case of entrepreneurship. People who make mind to be entrepreneurs always ignore the dark side, such as entrepreneur’s failure and see the glory of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship represents a go-getter attitude with limitless ambition and an innovative mind. In the word of Steve Jobs: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are ones who do.” Over time, these innovators and risk-takers have shown a sort of fearlessness that a lot of never experience. And throughout history, a number of the foremost genius creators and thinkers have, less famously, struggled with mental disease.
But with this silver lining that’s visible to all, including the people that embark on this journey, entrepreneurship nearly always features a painful, dark side there that nobody talks openly about, that an individual entering this world is unaware of or grossly underestimates.
“All my friends have safe jobs…They enjoy vacations. I am still alone with no stable career…. It does bring in immense insecurity and worry that did I made the wrong decision by choosing the career as an entrepreneur?”
“I invested my hopes, my energy, my youth in my startup, and it failed… I see myself as a failure now.”
These thoughts come in the mind of Indian entrepreneurs who are going through the sheer amount of pressure, uncertainty, of cycles of hopelessness that come with an entrepreneur’s failure, breaking them.
Some of the common psychological states an entrepreneur faces in their journey are:
Browsing the harsh cycle of creating a dream become a reality, handling more rejections and entrepreneur’s failures can make him hopeless. If the person doesn’t have adequate support, he is extremely vulnerable to fall within the trap of depression, a severe psychological state disorder marked by persistent hopelessness and lack of concentration.
2. Bipolar Disorder
Although manic depression may be a genetic disease, entrepreneurs with the rollercoaster nature of their professional journey, are more likely to suffer from manic depression, if they need a genetic predisposition. Manic depression makes an individual undergo high and low mental phases. It breaks the sufferer because, during the high stage, an entrepreneur can make decisions that are reckless and risky. Therefore, the low phase can break them, make them unable to do their work, and even cause suicidal tendencies.
3. Anxiety Disorder
Performance pressure and anxiety to do better than everyone else are what that motivates an entrepreneur. But through the cycles of uncertainties, fear of failing can push an entrepreneur in a phase of endless worry, lack of optimism, and imagining the worst. This mental disorder, if not appropriately checked, can’t only impact an entrepreneur’s quality of life but also severely impact his mental wellbeing.
Much is claimed about the startup ecosystem in India—how it serves society through better solutions, products, and services. By creating a job, how it strengthens the country’s economy. While that has got to continue, the attitude towards entrepreneur’s failure should change as an incontrovertible fact that “99% of startups will fail, but 100% of entrepreneurs will succeed, because success teaches us few subjects, but failure is the whole course curriculum”.