Oh Ye Entrepreneurs, Learn from the Ants and Delegate, to Avoid Mental Breakdown

Oh Ye Entrepreneurs, Learn from the Ants and Delegate, to Avoid Mental Breakdown

With U.S. reporting high incidence of mental health issues among entrepreneurs, I want to add my voice to it. Building companies is not a vacation job. It requires high intensity which has real impacts on the practitioners. My message is this: have balance and DELEGATE as you execute your Mission. I say DELEGATE and learn how to do same very well. You can get a coach to learn how to plan your day and achieve more. On my table is an exercise book which captures all that must be done daily: I throw the issues to people, and then do the ones I must do. Then, later, I check if things are going well.

If you run a startup, please consider your state of health even as you work 21 hours to fix market frictions. What is happening in U.S. where founders are going “mental” is terrifying. The world needs you. From TechCrunch…

While national mental health statistics are troubling, they are downright terrifying for entrepreneurs. According to a study by Michael Freemanentrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders. Founders are:

  • 2X more likely to suffer from depression

  • 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD

  • 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse

  • 10X more likely to suffer from bi-polar disorder

  • 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization

  • 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts

Unlike small business owners, entrepreneurs are scalability engines and most are restless in nature: why wait next week when there is today? That nature is why they change the world. But they pay a huge price doing same. Some have broken homes, and some just flip.

Then, add the Nigeria crazy wahala which Americans do not experience: the electricity, the traffic, and the security challenges. Yes, Nigerian entrepreneurs have other things which they must manage besides the typical growth elements.

As usual, I will offer a solution – if possible, read this piece I wrote in Harvard Business Review – The Leadership Lessons of Ants. Simply, learn from the Ants and Delegate. That is one way to get your sanity back. We need you to continue to serve Africa in wealth, wisdom and great health. Happy New Year!


1. Well, we are reading this because someone is keeping track and providing data in these areas, you do not have such a luxury over here. I am certain that a lot of people down here are suffering one mental issue or the other, but because of our ‘spiritual’ outlook on things, no one pays attention, until one completely goes bonkers. In all things, a sound mind in a sound body, that’s how you get a sound person; anything short of that is dangerous to oneself and the society at large.

2. Interesting findings which point to the sometimes avoidable quest for success. It is almost a catch 22 because it does appear timing can make a whole lot of difference when it comes to product invention. One of the symptoms stands out to me though, I understand people are born with ADHD and it’s not really triggered by stress or work related pressures. You either have or you dont – just to varying degrees.

3. Not even when you run business in Nigeria where everything, including the government, is conspiring to ‘kill’ you. Funnily enough, spending 5 hours daily in Lagos traffic has absolutely nothing to do with fixing market friction.

4. This is undeniably true sir, I can recall personally experiencing chronic Depression and Suicidal thought when my 2 Startup failed after investing a good sum of all my asset and also have a major family crises. But the good thing is that I bounced back as a result of having established quality hashtagRelationship, my friend where with me constantly. So the startup surer way to avoid all the turmoil is to ensure one has Good Friends.

5. Nothing new. Most great men/women always danced along the borderline of genuity and outright insanity!!!!!


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