I should be in a better mood. I just returned from a skiing and snowboarding vacation in Maine during which I was (mostly) unplugged and more active than usual. But, unfortunately, I came back to the news that another snowstorm is tracking toward New England, prompting me to wonder about that old mantra: If February is the shortest month, why does it seem so long?
Then, yesterday, I read an article in the Boston Sunday Globe that lead me to believe my sour mood has less to do with winter than with a condition called hypomania.
According to the piece, "The Hypomanic American," psychologists contend that a mild form of mania—called hypomania—turns us into achievers, risk-takers and, in a business setting, entrepreneurs.
Hypomanics are restless and excitable, throwing themselves with abandon into work or other pleasures for a week or more, during which they feel like "masters of the universe." If this sounds like the initial stages of manic depression... well, it is, writes author Annie Murphy Paul.
"But instead of spiraling into debilitating manias and then into paralyzing depression, hypomanics generally experience only the invigorating effects of the onset of the mania and usually emerge from it without professional help (though sometimes a period of mild depression follows)."
Psychologist John Gartner argues that Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford were all hypomanics.
The Globe piece focuses on American entrepreneurs and leaders, and the condition's role in the nation's power and prosperity. But, in my view, hypomania is less exclusively American than it is entrepreneurial.
How many of business leaders, company CEOs and entrepreneurs do you know who seem hypomanic? Based on my own experience, I would guess quite a few.
The good news is that by next week I should be characteristically ebullient and exuberant. Stay tuned.
Thanks for stopping by. As always, your feedback is both welcome and encouraged.
Until next week,
Chief Content Officer
p.s. The SWOT column will return next week in its usual spot.