The Double-Edged Sword: How Shows Like “CNBC, Make It” Can Impact Stressed-Out Entrepreneurs

4 min read

This Show Stresses Entrepreneurs

Over the years, the glamour and allure of entrepreneurship have been significantly magnified by media, particularly through TV shows and web series like “CNBC, Make It”. These shows have brought the entrepreneurial journey into our living rooms, making the process seem far more accessible and desirable. However, as inspirational as these success stories are, they can also potentially lead to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression among entrepreneurs. Let’s delve into how and why this happens.


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The Glorification of Success

Many shows revolving around entrepreneurship, such as “CNBC, Make It”, focus heavily on success stories. These are often entrepreneurs who have managed to overcome insurmountable odds to establish thriving enterprises. While these stories can be incredibly motivational, they tend to foster a narrative that portrays entrepreneurship as a linear path to success. However, reality reveals a starkly different picture.

Many shows revolving around entrepreneurship, such as “CNBC, Make It”, focus heavily on success stories. These are often entrepreneurs who have managed to overcome insurmountable odds to establish thriving enterprises.

The road to entrepreneurship is often fraught with obstacles, financial struggles, and countless failures. By predominantly showcasing success stories, these shows create unrealistic expectations for budding entrepreneurs. They instill a belief that rapid growth and success are the norm rather than the exception. They tend to leave out the luck of motion and uniqueness a particular business they cover may have. This can subsequently lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and anxiety when their own ventures don’t take off as quickly or smoothly as they had anticipated.

The Survivorship Bias

These shows often suffer from a well-known psychological phenomenon known as “survivorship bias”. They highlight the individuals or companies that have thrived, overlooking the countless others that didn’t survive the competitive business landscape. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, and nearly 50% do not survive past the fifth year.

However, these statistics are rarely represented in the mainstream media. This disproportionate representation of successful businesses leads to an unrealistic perception of the entrepreneurial landscape. The harsh reality of failure, which is a crucial part of the entrepreneurial journey, is usually downplayed. This disparity between reality and what is portrayed can make aspiring entrepreneurs feel like they’re failing when they encounter the unavoidable hurdles of entrepreneurship.

The Culture of Hustle

Another detrimental aspect is the glamorization of the “hustle culture”. Many of these shows often depict successful entrepreneurs as individuals who work round the clock, forsaking sleep, relationships, and personal health. While dedication and hard work are undoubtedly critical to entrepreneurial success, this extreme portrayal can lead to harmful behaviors.

The pressure to match this level of dedication can lead to burnout, causing significant physical and mental health challenges. It can also foster a toxic competitiveness that is detrimental to collaborative and healthy work environments. This constant pressure and the fear of not doing enough can contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression.

The Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome, a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”, is rampant among entrepreneurs. The constant comparison with successful entrepreneurs, often magnified by shows like “CNBC, Make It”, only exacerbates this syndrome.

Even when entrepreneurs achieve milestones, they might feel like they don’t measure up to the high standards set by those portrayed in the media. This constant self-doubt and fear of being discovered as fraud can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression.

Balancing Inspiration with Reality

While shows like “CNBC, Make It” can inspire and provide valuable insights into entrepreneurship, it’s crucial to consume such content with a grain of salt. Entrepreneurship is a challenging path laden with both success and failure, and it’s essential to maintain realistic expectations and self-care.

Struggling entrepreneurs must remind themselves that every entrepreneurial journey is unique. Overnight successes are rare, and the road to success is often a long and winding one filled with challenges, failures, and lessons. Embrace your own journey and understand that struggles and setbacks don’t equate to failure.

Moreover, mental health should never be compromised for the sake of success. It’s important to take regular breaks, get enough sleep, eat healthily, and engage in physical activities. Seek professional help if feelings of anxiety or depression become overwhelming.

In the world of entrepreneurship, resilience, and self-care are just as important as innovation and business acumen. Keep this in mind, and remember, it’s okay not to mirror the stories you see on TV. You’re on your unique path, and it’s the journey that molds you more than the destination.

Christian Hatteway

Author and Journalist for GameTime and Millennial Entrepreneur Magazine. Co-creator of

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