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Are You HypoManic?

January 14, 2010


Last night I was having dinner with a great young entrepreneur who was explaining to me that he has self-diagnosed himself as hypomanic (perhaps not clinically but certainly descriptively), and that he believes most good entrpereneurs actually are hypomanic, too.  While in part jest, when he walked me through the symptoms of hypomania we both had a good chuckle thinking how many of these symptoms we see in ourselves and in many entrepreneurs we know.

If you look at Wikipedia’s definition of hypomanic, I am sure you’ll think of lots of successful entrepreneurs you know, if not yourself! According to that definition, a Hypomanic episode occurs when you have an elevated mood plus 3 of the following “symptoms:”

  • pressured speech; rapid talking
  • inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;
  • decreased need for sleep;
  • flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
  • easy distractibility and attention-deficit (superficially similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
  • increase in psychomotor agitation; and
  • involvement in pleasurable activities that may have a high potential for negative psycho-social or physical consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

Are you HypoManic?


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  1. PhillyVC #
    January 14, 2010

    There’s actually a whole book about this as it relates to entrepreneurship. It’s an interesting read. The author spoke a few years ago at a VC event in Philadelphia.

  2. January 14, 2010

    Yes I am! Guilty on all counts.

  3. sproutlore #
    January 14, 2010

    So this is the personality type that claws their way up the economic ladder, and find their way to be in charge of social and political economic levers. Yeah, Enron, American foreign policy, mortgage meltdowns and opposition to healthcare is less of a shock in that context. We are whorshipping at the feet of boom bust personalities who’s only interest are themselves.

  4. June 2, 2011

    Ohh now I know what I will call my boss. HypoManic 🙂 and thanks to your blog post I have another word that I know of and knows what the meaning of it. Thank you for sharing this to us.

  5. June 3, 2011

    This type of attitude reminds me of my friend. He has some of the symptoms that a hypo manic person has.Despite of his attitude I still accepts him as who he was.. But as of now were trying to help him to overcome or at least lessen his Hypo Manic behavior.

  6. June 3, 2011

    I wish I was, the need for less sleep would be good. I suppose I could live without everything else… Still confidence is an essential in this day in age though, right? Being a hypomanic isn’t ALL bad… Its quite interesting though that being a hypomanic seems to coincide with being a successful entrepreneur.

  7. Tom #
    June 7, 2011

    What a great article, I do know some people who fit this profile….

  8. June 7, 2011

    You’re describing my boss I guess… I’m forwarding this to my colleagues, they’ll have a good giggle about it!

  9. June 15, 2011

    This just made me laugh! Thanks for sharing this! but the last description disturbed me, how can entrepreneurs be good when he makes foolish investments?

  10. June 30, 2011

    If these symptoms are all signs of hypomanic then, i believe, that in this day and age, most of us are. we are all career driven and, thus, these symptoms eventually manifest.

  11. July 5, 2011

    I guess I am! too bad..Can you make a post of the solution or a cure

  12. July 22, 2011

    @Robin: I second that. The need for less sleep would be awesome.

    @Austin: I agree that most career driven people have some of these traits. I wonder though, how much of it is the person and how much is the society we live in?

  13. Sam #
    August 14, 2011

    By that definition of hypomanic, most of my friends will fit the description… but they don’t make good entrepreneurs though. I know that for fact because some stupid decisions some of friends made in their life. 🙂


  14. Sam #
    August 20, 2011

    I don’t think one have to be hypomanic to be successful. I think most of these systoms are more like pressure, people who do not really know how to digest the pressure in life and reflect it in something else. Just we all need to know the point where need to relax.
    Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus

  15. September 2, 2011

    I know someone who fits exactly THAT description. It’s peculiar to note that this person has few genuine friends. Is it the personality? I’m not sure. But I’m beginning to suspect it partly is…

    San Jose Property Management

  16. November 2, 2011

    Psychology really has to do with this because it is not just the entreprenuers who are experiencing this. Even the normal people also feel this but in a different mood. However, there is always a solution to this kind of problem most especially if you have come up with a perfect idea.

  17. November 6, 2011

    I have a friend who possess those qualities. She really needs help and she even consulted a psychologist for fast results. Does anyone knows a fast cure for this?

  18. December 28, 2011

    Hmmm….very interesting subject. Makes for a good conversation starter. San Jose Property Management

  19. March 7, 2012

    I think it is due to a heightened sense of purpose…we are on a make it or break it timeline…under a different type of pressure than say a government employee with sick days, IP days, holidays, Jury duty days, etc. Know what I mean?

  20. June 4, 2012

    What possibly might you call those experiencing the same symptoms but cannot be considered entrepreneurs? Or does the word only apply to those who, one way or the other, owns a business?

  21. September 30, 2012

    This definitely gave me a good laugh. I’m not sure if having some of these traits is a good thing or not. ha!

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