Did Your Mania Make You Wealthy?

I get this question often - because people often hear about successful people they believe had one of the forms of bipolar disorder. Before I answer the question - it is good to know what the multiple types of bipolar disorder (and associated terms) are:

  1. Bipolar I - A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression.
  2. Bipolar II - In bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-blown mania. These less-intense elevated moods are called hypomanic episodes.
  3. Rapid Cycling - In rapid cycling, a person with the disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. This can occur at any point in the course of bipolar disorder.
  4. Mixed Bipolar - A person with mixed bipolar episodes has symptoms of both mood "poles" -- mania and depression -- at the same time or in rapid sequence.
  5. In Cyclothymic disorder, moods swing between short periods of mild depression and mania.
  6. Bipolar Spectrum - The bipolar spectrum refers to conditions that include not only bipolar disorder but also other types of mental conditions that involve depression or mood swings.

Ok, back to - Did Mania Make You Wealthy:

I do believe my high energy (manic) periods PARTIALLY helped in a couple of ways. I do experience more creativity during my high energy periods, and I could work for days with very little sleep. However, the little sleep issue can also cause big problems - which is why you want effective treatment.  

However, we do not talk enough about how everyone's PERSONALITY can play a huge role in their success and quality of life. Every Bipolar patient also has a unique personality - and we must not forget this fact. I am not sure why - but I always hated to lose at anything. I believe this hatred of losing helps you push thru business challenges - where many others would quit. My dislike of losing is much greater than the good feeling of winning. Start up companies often have multiple near death experiences. In the case of Spyglass even our investors gave up on the company (for a while), 

I also like to tell people that I never dreamed about making hundreds of millions of dollars. However, I did (and still do) think about creating extremely successful businesses and charitable entities which make a huge impact.

You also can't talk about success of any kind without talking about your willingness to "Accept RISK". I understand most people do not like risk. However, for those who are contemplating a risky venture - I want to close with the advice I have given to many others. 

I call it the "Rocking Chair" test. When you are 75 years old and sitting in a rocking chair - I hope you don't say "I wish I had tried that idea". As my 97 year old mother has always said - the only failure in life is not trying something you really wanted to do! 

Good luck....





Douglas Colbeth