Growing out of your sigma-grindset

Published on 2023-09-20

A few years ago, I was really into this thing that just today, I realized is now called the "sigma-grindset."

That's not what I called it at the time, but all the same qualities were there. What I think it means to have the sigma-grindset is to obsess over measurable improvements in your life to a fault, and particularly improvements that allow you to more accurately approximate some cultural ideal. In this case, it's everything that fits into manosphere culture: being manly, making money, and just generally being an abusive and manipulative person who only cares about themself.

I was never really into the masculinity side of it (I wonder why) but I did have a serious fixation on building skills I thought would help me succeed on all the boring axes of life. I even think that I thought I was doing it for a noble goal, but the result was just all the self-loathing that comes with prioritizing discipline above all other virtues. While I did seem to find a lot of success on all the boring axes of life at the time, it felt empty, like I was toiling just because someone told me to. Most importantly, it didn't seem to make me any happier.

Nowadays, I place a lot more emphasis on the more intangible, less-measurable improvements I can make in life. Things like, spending more time with friends, building new communities and taking better care of myself. It's harder, I think, because there isn't a "skill tree" to being a holistically good and pro-social person. It's just something you kinda wake up every day and do. You fuck up, you embarrass yourself, you learn, and you move on. There's no daily one-hour being a good friend practice sessions you can schedule into your life. It's scarier that way, maybe. But it means something.

I don't go on runs very often anymore, but I do like to bike to school in the morning. I don't wake up at 5 AM and I don't take cold showers to keep me out of bet. Usually, I just wake up a little later in the morning and drink lots of coffee. I do all of the things that I would've thought were the "easy ways out" back then, but I think I'm a much better person for it now.

It feels a little silly in hindsight, but I suppose I was literally a high schooler. I think that's when you're supposed to figure these things out. It makes me quite sad, then, to see so many people well into adulthood who cling to these things like their lives depend on it. Maybe they'll figure it out, one day. I hope they do.

Respond to this article

If you have thoughts you'd like to share, send me an email!

See here for ways to reach out