Posted by: T.D. Inoue | August 17, 2011

Keeping it Real – Entrepreneurs can’t afford to get depressed

This is likely to be somewhat controversial, but I want to share it with you regardless…

I spent most of my teen and early college years depressed. Seriously depressed. It was a horrible time of my life that made it difficult to get things done. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t feel like anybody cared if I lived or died. I felt totally alone and worthless. I almost got thrown out of college because I slept through most of the the second semester of my freshman year.

But I got lucky, really lucky. The summer after my freshman year, my father gave me a challenge that pushed my problem solving skills to their limits, giving me the opportunity to discover what I was really good at while gaining public acclaim for doing ground-breaking work. That summer changed my life and set me on the positive path, showing me that I was worthy. It proved that if I set my mind to something, I could do great things.

That summer when I was 19 reprogrammed my brain. I learned first hand that my self-doubts were false. This wasn’t anything that someone could have told me, I had to hit bottom personally. I had to prove to myself that my fears were unfounded. It was incredibly hard, but it was liberating. To this day, my personal mission is to help others realize their true potential as my father did for me.

What does this have to do with “It’s All GOOD!”, entrepreneurs and depression? Everything!

If you’ve ever experienced depression, you know that when you’re in that state, it’s difficult or impossible to be productive. You’re lost in a morass of self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-pity. The last thing you can do is attack an audacious task while people are telling you that what you’re trying to do is worthless or impossible. But that’s what entrepreneurs face every day. In order to be an entrepreneur, you have to be able to say “It’s All GOOD!” when others see your ship sinking. The way to do that is to follow your passion and to throw yourself 100% into something you love.

Being an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of irrational optimism. You have to be able to plow ahead without support from anybody. You have to be able to take rejection, time after time. You have to work while people around you tell you all the reasons why you’re going to fail. So, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you simply cannot afford to get depressed.

(I have add a disclaimer because I know people read things the way they want to. I am not judging people with clinical depression. Far from it.)



  1. Good post.

    I personally feel the best way out of a depression is to focus on accomplishing some task with an outcome. It’s the best way to get out of your own head. But, the task has to be big enough to be all consuming so that you’re constantly thinking about it even when you’re not working on it.

    Thanks a lot for having the courage to share.

    • Thanks Jeff. That’s exactly what happened to me and any time I feel myself “slipping” I know it’s because I’m not being consumed by a greater passion.

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