Growing up with a pediatric neurologist as the man of the house, it’s no surprise that neuroscience would be a common topic at the dinner table of Aziz Kaddan’s childhood, and why he found himself years later in the same branch of science.
At an early age, he was exposed to the topic of mental health and conditions particularly ADHD. He witnessed how his two siblings were examined by their father, and how much they rejected the medication that he gave them. As research in neuroscience expanded over the decades and therapy improved, Aziz now finds himself as the CEO of Myndlift, and building on the breakthrough that is Neurofeedback.
To simplify, Aziz explained that “Neurofeedback is based on something called Operant Conditioning. Whenever you do a certain action, you get a reward or a no reward, and if you get a reward immediately after doing that action, that action or that behaviour is being reinforced, right? So if you’re rewarding a baby, for example, whenever they do a specific behaviour over and over and over again, at some point they’re going to do that behaviour more and more naturally.”
This was the culmination of the research put into measuring brain activity which allowed for the non-invasive undertaking of sending frequencies to parts of the brain, which paved the way for therapy that improved actions like focus and treat conditions that affect the brain like ADHD and depression.
Starting the Start-up
Despite its effectiveness, Aziz acknowledges that it is yet to go mainstream, “Other than the high costs associated with it, the need to visit the clinic so often made it something that is sort of a last resort for many people,” he says, “you would prefer to take medication rather than stick to 60-day training regimen with therapy.
“I tried it myself and it helped me. I know the benefits of research, why is it not accessible? So we worked super hard on making it accessible by using wearable technology and mobile technology and just providing it from home.”
It was this idea that led Aziz and his co-founders to quit their jobs in 2014 and fly from Tel Aviv to a technology accelerator in Boston. It was a difficult journey educating investors and it took almost 10 months of work to make the first dollar for their start-up, but they persevered.
Now their compact Myndlift technology and software are being used in hundreds of clinics globally, inching their way closer to making this groundbreaking treatment a mainstream option in the field of mental health.
Rhymes and Relaxation
Having experienced the difficulties of being a new entrepreneur, Aziz encourages other dreamers, and aspiring CEOs to not forget about themselves in this painstaking process of growth, as their mental health is equally important as their goals.
“At the end of the day,” Aziz says, entrepreneurs are very prone to suffer from depression or anxiety due to the difficulty of what they’re doing—you’re alone, you’re building something big. Every day is a struggle and you don’t have somebody telling you what to do—you have to figure it out by yourself, all of these factors can be daunting. For example, if you’re funding for a big idea, and you have, you fully believe in that idea, your mom also believes in it [but] when you go to investors and they tell you well this will never work, or you’re getting rejection after rejection after rejection that can take a toll on your mental health.
Aziz shares that it’s hard to push through with projects when you’re dealing with internal burdens, so he suggests that from time to time, entrepreneurs take a day off to pursue other projects.
“I really recommend to every single entrepreneur out there that are just starting out, have an artistic project, whether it’s singing, drawing—whatever it is, because when you have such a project where you create something, and you’re not dependent on people—vying for the market or investors and it’s just your creation that you fully control in your own world, on the weekend. It just gives you that break that you desperately need.”
For Aziz, music and the lyrical world of rap was his part-time project outside Myndlift, and the CEO himself writes his own rhymes from time to time as his way of clearing his head.
Science and Stigma
Even though they have made treatment for mental health more accessible, Aziz acknowledges that the stigma of mental health treatment is still there. Many countries and parts of our communities are still associating it with disability and jumping to uneducated conclusions on the topic of mental conditions, but there are noticeable signs of acceptance in more areas.
He says that during this time of COVID-19 where many of us are stuck at home, many are starting to see the importance of mental health.
“[At times] I’m interviewing candidates who want to work at Myndlift and I’m noticing a lot of openness,” Aziz shares, “people are telling me ‘look I really connect with this company because I’ve suffered from a mental health issue, and I think I’m still suffering’ they know that I’m not gonna pass judgment. And so, that’s the beautiful thing that’s happening right now and I hope that this continues to grow.”
More from Aziz and Myndlift
Follow them at their Instagram page @myndlift
Visit their website at myndlift.com
Click here for the giveaway!
Aziz will be giving away a one-month free trial of Myndlift including the kit.