I Don’t Study Philosophy Because I Want To

Joel Sigrist
3 min readDec 17, 2021


Today’s email has TWO stories in it, one written by Mark Manson this week, the other written by me months ago. They have a shared thread that’s important to understand about both philosophy and self-help.

The Point Is to Stop

The best way to judge the usefulness of self-help advice is by how many people eventually leave it behind. It’s time to stop.

I’m Tired of Self Help. | by Joel Sigristmedium.com

Self-help isn’t meant to be “other’s help” or widely apply, and yet, most self-help creators share it to be exactly that, because they, at some level, need to sell you on something.

What These Posts Say: Self-Help Needs Limits

The point is to stop. The purpose of self-help is, like a doctor, to not need it anymore. The point is to use these ideas, these practices, these habits to make ourselves less anxious, more confident, humble, kind, self-aware, loving people.

But the paradox of self-awareness is that the harder we work at it, the worse we are.

At some point, trying to perfectly rid our lives of anxiety will make us anxious about every mistake.

Trying to be perfectly selfless makes us focus on how we ourselves are doing.

Self-help is something that we should be striving to outgrow.

Philosophy is the same.

By thinking about philosophy and self-help, putting habits and practices in place to manage and measure our lizard brain into place, we can become less anxious and more selfless. We can become more loving and more kind because we have practices in place to make sure that we can manage our anxiety, defuse our fears, and tame our demons.

It can go too far, though.

That’s what Mark Manson wrote about this week. The point is to use self-help and philosophy as tools so that we don’t need it anymore.

The point is to stop.

Self-help and philosophy aren’t things that we need to pursue forever. Only until we don’t need them anymore.

I’m proud of Mark Manson for reaching that point this week. I’m proud of him for knowing that he doesn’t need to write about self-help, that he doesn’t need to be so introspective, and that he doesn’t need to analyze himself the way he has for years.

And that’s the point I’m working towards.

It’s not about being a philosopher and self-help writer forever.

It’s about doing it until I’m able to stop.

And we’re not there yet, but we’re on the way.

Bite-Sized Philosophy Episodes This Week

Episode 45: Desire is a contract — Naval Ravikant | Bite-Sized Philosophyopen.spotify.com

This is one of my favorite episodes I’ve ever done. (11:27)

Episode 46: Try Doing Something Good — Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Bite-Sized Philosophyopen.spotify.com




Joel Sigrist

Consistent writer since a few weeks ago. Not all published stories are good ones, but that’s getting better. In some cool pubs, too.