The Other Source of Depression

I have always been entrepreneurial. On two separate occasions as a kid I had vegetable gardens. On each, my grandmother, and later her daughter (my mother), gave away almost all my produce and thus succeeded in liquidating my intended businesses. I guess my mother got it from her mother – my grandmother gave it to her daughter.

Among the other things I aspired to be was Jean Claude Van Damme. I didn’t want to be Chuck Norris because he had bushy chest hair. I am 30 today, with medium chest hair. It is even turning white.

How my story should be is: he grew up poor, went to university; he then ventured into business, struggled for a bit of time and then became very successful. “He changed the world for the better.”

I have started many businesses. Many of them failed. Still I am not rich. I am on no list of millionaires.

Bill Gates’ story is, “he dropped out of university and started a little computer company called Microsoft. Today it is one of the largest companies in the world.”

I want my story to be golden, or at least end that way.

Like me I am sure you identify with story formats, i.e. how the story of our lives should go.

We identify with form, form of how the story of our lives should run: Rags to riches, university dropout to millionaire, taxi driver to renowned lawyer, etc.

Most times when I hurt, it is when things turn out in a way not suiting to the story I had formed in my mind – with a template I got from the world’s conventions. “How this publication should choose me to be their contributor. How this company should approve my proposal. And when all these things happen, I will be able to do such and such.”

“Every story ultimately fails. No forms last for that long. No building lasts for that long, they crumble. All forms are temporary” – Eckhart Tolle

Think about it. Every building here on earth will eventually crumble. Nothing man made holds one form forever. Over time it crumbles. Time is the constant. If you cannot fathom that your favourite building will crumble, do you think it will outlast 100 million years – which surely will come?

To come to think of it, even if the world ends – as the Bible and scientists pronounce – time won’t stop.

It is over time that I get to fail and succeed. It is over time that I get be joyous and sad. It is over time the stories I am building in mind get interrupted.

Of late I have been studying spirituality and enlightenment. It is obvious to run into people like Eckart Tolle.

A lot of spiritual teachers, if not all of them, speak of achieving consciousness. They talk of ‘not being your mind’, but ‘being an observer of it.’ Though I understand it, it is hard for me grasp and apply this effectively. I must say I am getting there though.

Though I understand that the forms I build in my mind about my life and ambitions won’t all go as I want (and maybe most times), still I build them. And when they are interrupted, I hurt – sometimes more, less or not at all.

Therefore it is unwise to keep building mental forms of how my life should go and get upset or hurt when they crumble.

I would like your take on achieving this ‘consciousness’, especially as an entrepreneur, as we are forever making goals and thus anticipating that they will be a success. 

I’ve written plenty on anxiety and depression, from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Here are all the articles And here is my book ‘The Anxious Entrepreneur: Anxiety Defeats Creativity – Creativity Defeats Anxiety’.