I just got done reading a really cool post on Tim Ferriss’ blog titled [“Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Making the Rollercoaster Work for You “]. Along with the post was this picture:
It’s interesting because this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. The AWESOME part about mania/hypomania (which would be “Uninformed Optimism” on the graph) is the expansion that happens during it. When I’m manic I have all this energy, all these ideas and I act on them. I (usually) know when I’m manic, and I know that the ideas and feelings I have might not totally be based on reality, but I “ride the wave” because even though some things might be far fetched, awesome things often come from them.
I’m going to focus on “uninformed optimism” in this post, but it’s worth looking at [Tim’s whole post.] Here’s one of my real world examples of “uninformed optimism.”
Building a Barter Exchange
It was about 3 years ago when I first heard of [barter exchanges], the system that really excited me was [the LETS]. I was SO excited about these things that I was determined to start my own (while living in Taiwan). That excitement led me to sending emails, making phone calls, etc. to people in the business. This is the kind of thing that hypomania/uninformed optimism makes you do. Someone else would say to themselves “I have no money, no connections and have no idea how to run a barter exchange. I better leave that alone.” The entrepreneurial manic-depressive says “This is a great idea and I should start working on it today!”
Anyhow, I did end up starting an exchange in Taiwan that didn’t do much but teach me how hard it is to start an exchange (especially in a foreign country). BUT, that initial excitement started a chain of events that has led to me potentially owning and operating a barter exchange, just like the one I wanted to start 3 years ago, right here in Milwaukee (I’ll blog about that more after I talk to my lawyer 😉 ).
I don’t see this part much. This would be “Crisis of Meaning” on the graph above. This happens when you lose steam and all your AWESOME ideas become “What the fuck was/am I thinking?” It sucks because you’ve been skipping work, staying up late, devoting your whole existence to your thing and then one day you’re like “This is all a waste of time and I should quit doing what I’m doing.”
I used to believe myself on days like that, and it sucked. Now I recognize them as days like that and stick my head under the blankets, nap for a couple hours, play some Wii until I snap out of it.
If I had to rate myself right now I think I’m somewhere between 2 and 3.