Sign in

Andrei Neboian, Dr

How I escaped burnout’s unhealthy cycle of doom

A cityscape viewed from above the clouds.
A cityscape viewed from above the clouds.
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

Last year I was restructuring my company and eventually selling it.

I obsessed about doing the best possible work I could. I scheduled every minute of my day for anything that seemed useful — anything that would make me feel worthy and help me avoid any shame for being lazy.

But at some point, it didn’t matter how hard I worked anymore.

I was exhausted. My sense of self-worth was dropping, and my motivation plummeted. Once in this cycle of doom, it was hard for me to get out.

I wanted the confidence and clarity of whether I was on…

How these lessons helped a scared, bullied kid become the legendary superstar Jackie Chan

“Jackie Chan” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the movie “Who Am I,” Jackie Chan slides down a 24-story building in his death-defying scene. The craziest part? He did it completely unassisted.

The charismatic Hollywood actor Jackie Chan plans and performs his spectacular parkour moves, jump sequences, and mind-blowing fighting scenes by himself. He is his own stuntman.

Although he broke nearly every bone in his body throughout his movie career, he continues to risk his life just to keep his viewers on the edge of their seats.

The media calls him fearless.

But the legendary superstar was born neither privileged nor fearless. …

I had to survive bankruptcy on the way to being acquired. Here are the lessons I learned.

Photo by vahid kanani on Unsplash

My heart trembled when I read the Forbes headline “3D Printing Company MakerBot Acquired in $604 Million Deal.” The founder and CEO of Makerbot, former primary school art teacher Bre Pettis from New York, left his company a wealthy man.

While Bre Pettis was packing his suitcase full of cash in 2013, I was still struggling to pay my office rent.

But Bre and I had one grand thing in common. We both worked in one of the most hyped tech industries since the invention of the hammer. …

How much frugality do you need to build a million-dollar business today?

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It was a fantastic summer day in our corporate lawyer’s office. I had just signed an investment deal securing millions of dollars for my start-up. A heavy thousand-dollar Montblanc ballpen was still lingering in my hand.

You can keep it,” said one of the investors, waving his palm at the pen: “get used to the good things now.”

For six years before signing the deal, I wore a budget business suit and drove to my shabby office in my wife’s screeching old Peugeot every day.

Now, with enough cash in my company’s bank account, the idea to upgrade my lifestyle…

How to get help, support, and favors without starting a negotiation

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

“Everything in life is a negotiation. Life is a negotiation.“ — Chris Voss from The Art of Negotiation.

As a founder and CEO of a recently acquired high-tech startup, I receive up to twenty requests in my inbox every day. Some of these requests end up in a negotiation. But some requests I grant right away for free.

It turns out that if we want things for free, we must follow a distinct set of three social rules — different from those that help us negotiate a deal. …

Skill #1: Use active voice to boost responsibility in your team

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

When I published my first non-fiction article, I was just a bored CEO who wanted to share his ideas with the world after selling his company.

But doodling dull prose no one cared about was not good enough for me. I wanted my ideas to reach readers’ minds and hearts. I wanted to write well by mastering the craft of a wordsmith.

So I immersed myself into popular writing guides, such as John Hart’s “A Writer’s Coach,” William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well,” and Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style.” Craving to pimp my writing game, I attended writing courses, studied…

…without getting slapped by copyright law

Actress Jennifer Lawrence in a red dress
Actress Jennifer Lawrence in a red dress
Jennifer Lawrence at the 83rd Academy Awards Red Carpet. Photo by RedCarpetReport, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Copyright lawyers have this joke: “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a copyright-protected picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.”

I didn’t laugh when I first read it because I am a chicken when it comes to taking legal risks.

But, as a writer, I still have to use images in every article to support my storytelling and to reach my audience. And for my recent post, I needed pictures of five entrepreneurial celebrities: Ben Horowitz, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, Cal Newport, and Darren Hardy.

I could grab some pictures from Instagram, Twitter, or a Newspaper…

…by showing you how to see beyond the “floating triangle”

Derivative image by the Author licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0. Original image by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

Modern neuroscience provides answers to how our minds work.

But what if neuroscience could teach us to attain our full potential as entrepreneurs and ultimately succeed in any business we want?

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns gives us a glimpse under the hood of revolutionary thinkers. In his book “Iconoclast,” he explains how great minds create unique art, spawn revolutionary inventions, and build successful businesses.

His key secret to thinking like an innovator comes down to an abstract image you see on this article’s front page.

The Kanizsa Triangle, Our Imagination, and the Lazy Brain

When you glimpse over the title image, you will likely notice a floating white triangle in…

Their words of wisdom played a key role in the selling of my company

Ben Horowitz, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, Cal Newport, and Darren Hardy. Image Credit: Derivative work by Andrei Neboian licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (see full attribution at the end of the article)

After my company survived financial turmoil and eventually got bought in 2019, I realized that hard work and struggle were indispensable in achieving this goal. Not giving up is worth it, and hard work does pay off in the end.

But why bother with inspirational lessons if you can motivate yourself?

I mean, if you work all the hours needed to succeed, never doubt yourself, relentlessly resist all distractions, and always finish your tasks on time, then you made it — you are perfect. Here, have a cookie.

But for all others out there like me, it’s helpful to have…

Empower employees with your curiosity and understanding of what really drives them.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

One of the most popular job interview questions is:

Why do you want this job?

Although we love poking our interviewees with this question, I wonder why we managers don’t ask the same question months or years after hiring them. Your employees grow and develop, and their priorities evolve. So it seems reasonable to challenge their motivation from time to time.

So I started provoking my staff by asking them:

“Why do you work for me?”

To avoid sounding condescending, I try to convey curiosity: why do they get up every morning to work for us and not for somebody…

Andrei Neboian, Dr

Writer | Ph.D. in Management Science | Built & Sold a Tech Startup | Engineer by Training — Character Creator at Heart ☕ LinkedIn

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store