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NOTE: Since 2009 the title of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (IJEE) has been changed to the title above.  ISSN numbers: IJEE 1649-2269 and IRE 2009-2822

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ISSN Number: 2009-2822. Frequency: 4 Issues per year (online only)  

Article #1609 - The Entrepreneurial Dream: Happiness, Depression and Freedom

IRE Vol 17: Issue 3, 2019, Pages 305-322

Author(s): Michael Fowle (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

Some recent research suggests that entrepreneurs are, by their nature, more prone to
depression. This paper uses research in entrepreneurship, psychology, philosophy and neuroscience
to show that, contrary to current belief, entrepreneurs are not unusually susceptible to depression.
They are in fact extraordinarily resilient, but their entrepreneurial projects often create high levels
of risk, uncertainty, loss of control, fractured relationships and damaged identity. These, coupled
with extreme lifestyles, lack of sleep and exercise and poor diet, combine to create exceptional
physiological and psychological stress. These conditions, and not predisposition, lead to
entrepreneurial depression. Entrepreneurial traits are a shield and protection, not a cause of distress.
The paper suggests a range of mitigating philosophical, strategic and personal approaches to
improve wellbeing and social and economic outcomes. In summary, entrepreneurs should keep
themselves fit to lead, share the burden with a team and keep the project lean.