How to Use Nihilism to Your Advantage for More Freedom

In this article, we’ll explore the attitudes and applications of a healthier take on nihilism.

But, first, let’s start with a little philosophy to introduce the necessity of nihilism as a foundational mindset for mental and emotional empowerment:

Nihilism As a Moral Obligation

Is it possible for a man who cares about everything to be morally good?

In an ideal world, the answer should always be “yes” and that more caring is always better.

Especially on a site like this one that seeks to create powerful human beings who are morally good, one would think that caringness taken to its maximum might be a case of a great extreme. (We could say that perhaps a level of caring that knows no bounds would be a hallmark of a fully morally good individual and the potential beginnings of a great force for good in the world. After all, those who care most are also those least likely to sit back and do nothing when that which they care about is negatively affected.)

In this regard, fully caring could be argued as the full completion of this character trait’s self-development.

However, we do not live in an ideal world and “more caring” isn’t always better. Everything should be done in moderation, including caring [and including moderation, but that’s a topic for another article].

So, we need a way to effectively manage and regulate the levels at which we care about things in the world.

And a concept that serves as a good tool for achieving this balance is nihilism.

How much caring is too much caring?

Anything taken to its extreme often becomes bad for those affected by it.

And yet, once again, one would think that caringness taken to its maximum might be the one exception where that extreme may be good.

Besides, the idea of exactly how much caring is too much caring is subjective since it’s a moral trait. We all decide for ourselves our own moral value systems, so to attempt to define in any specifics how much caring is too much in this one article could be a constantly, ever-changing line that will always be different from reader to reader.

With that said, I do have a definitive line that works as a fairly solid starting point.

Power is a moral obligation.

One cannot be powerless and morally good because an inability to uphold or carry out one’s values is the equivalent of being valueless. A moral code one never stands up for because one can’t due to being too weak is virtually the same as having no moral code at all. Therefore, the starting point here is that one cannot care so much about everything that it begins to inhibit their own power. And, in this regard, we can even begin to argue that nihilism is also a moral obligation.

But let’s not skip ahead. And, we should add the caveat here that what we’re describing is a “healthy” nihilism. (Just as too much caring could ultimately cause harm, too much care-freedom can also be equally as harmful.)

The Dangers of Caring Too Much

Let me be clear on what I mean by “caring” now.

We’re talking about overcaring about everything.

For the purposes of this article, the most notable “cares” that we’re discussing may be other people’s thoughts, judgments, and opinions.

And if you let those three things get to you too much, you may need to put them in check.

This is so important that the dangers of over-caring reach as low as constant overthinking and as high as being emotionally controlled by others.

Here are some of the main potential consequences:

Anxiety and Stress: caused by the fear of judgment and criticism.

Indecisiveness: decision-making can be more difficult when you care too much about how everyone will think and feel about it (and indecisiveness is often perceived as uncharismatic).

Self-Esteem Issues: if you place too much value on others’ opinions to determine and measure your own self-worth, you’ll constantly be dependent on the external validation of others to experience high levels of self-esteem.

Emotional Exhaustion: from constantly thinking of and trying to meet the expectations of others (or what you think their expectations might be).

Lack of Assertiveness: overcaring about what others think may cause you to have difficulty setting boundaries. You may be more prone to people-pleasing, which can result in being taken advantage of or neglecting your own needs.

The Solution: Healthy Nihilism

You can call it many things. You can call it “enlightened nihilism” in that it’s a more enlightened way of approaching a characteristically negative idea for personal empowerment. You can call it “technical nihilism” in that you’re only embracing the technical parts of nihilism that benefit you most and leaving the rest that are mostly negative. Or, you could even call it “eudaimonic nihilism” in that you seek to use nihilism only to the extent that it leads most reliably to a life well-lived.

However you choose to call it, the focus of this section is on healthy nihilism.

All power starts in the mind. And here we have some mindsets that leverage the benefits of nihilism while disregarding the pessimistic (and oftentimes counterproductive) rest.

Let’s start with the first one.

#1. “Nobody cares about you.”

The mantra to say to yourself in your head for this one is this:

You: “Nobody cares about you. (And that’s OK.) It’s nothing personal, it’s just business…and yet, I choose to love them all despite that.”

(*The only thought to focus on for a single individual is, “You’re only thinking of yourself…because you’re just trying to take care of yourself.”)

(*The only thought to focus on for a group is, “They’re only thinking of themselves…it’s their way of taking care of themselves.”)

Let’s break this down.

The “nobody cares about you” is simply another way of saying “you’re insignificant” which, if you’ve read Lucio’s article on that concept (see “You’re Insignificant. The Sooner You Accept It, The More Powerful You Get“), you already know is a good thing for your mental empowerment.

The “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business” is to consciously and healthily embrace the idea that others are not refusing to care about you because they hate you or any similar personal reason.

It’s actually because we’ve evolved with self-interest as a primary default function in our brains so that we could look after ourselves and practice self-care.

So, the real reason nobody is busy thinking (caring) about you is because they’re all busy thinking and caring about themselves.

This means that if they laugh at a mistake you make, it’s probably because laughing at you does something for them (maybe it makes them feel better about themself). So, don’t take it personally.

If they’re applying emotional pressure on you during a sales call to buy, it’s most likely because it does something for them. (They would gain a commission.) So, don’t be afraid to be assertive.

If you notice them staring at you, it’s probably because they’re thinking of what you could do for them (or to them) and not much more than that. (It’s oftentimes just people being aware of the good and bad–opportunities and potential threats–in their surroundings.) So, don’t think or worry too much about it.

It’s rarely ever about you. It’s almost always about them.

And, that’s OK because it’s just their way of looking after themselves to better take care of themselves.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

And, finally, the last part: “…and yet, I choose to love them all despite that.”

I maintain my deep love for people despite their self-interest (which can border/cross over into selfishness depending on the situation and how you look at it).

You choose to keep a positive attitude in the face of such a “negative” reality.

Now, this mantra’s core assumption (that everyone is only thinking of themselves) is an overgeneralization, of course.

Not everyone will only be thinking of themselves in your day-to-day interactions and dealings with them. Some will truly and genuinely care about you.

But, similar to how Lucio stated in his Social Mastery Guide that you’re also not really insignificant, this mantra is less about total accuracy and more about leveraging the beneficial aspects of nihilism that lead to empowering freedom.

It’s the freedom to look your boss in the eyes as he feeds you some horseshit about how we “do this for the mission” when you ask for your well-earned raise—and negotiate harder knowing he’s only thinking of himself and the company.

And, it’s the mental and emotional balance to not take it personally because you know it’s only business…and, as a result, you’re able to maintain your love/respect for him after the discussion.

Or, it’s the freedom to disappoint a stranger when they make a request that you’d really prefer to say “no” to (such as to take their picture), even though you feel like the nice thing to do would probably be to say “yes”.

Well, you don’t need to worry about disappointing someone who doesn’t care about you. So, whether you say “yes” or “no” is totally up to you. (You have your freedom back.)

And, at the end of the day, we still maintain our love for people regardless.

Now, on to the next mantra.

#2. Nothing matters and we’re all irrelevant.”

When we feel disrespected, the tendency can be to overreact.

But, that tendency typically stems from feeling that the “large disrespect” we received warrants a large (or sometimes even larger) reaction.

However, if the disrespect is small/minimal, then why get too up in arms about it?

The idea for this mantra is to mentally and emotionally reduce the disrespectful communication of others to that of a pebble.

If they’re throwing large stones, great, respond accordingly. But, if that’s the case, make sure you’re responding, not overreacting.

Socially it might’ve been a boulder. But, emotionally, it was hardly a pebble’s size.

Here’s your mantra for this one:

You: “It doesn’t matter. Everything is insignificant (in the grand sceme of things), including this. (We’re specks in the universe.) And that’s OK. I choose to fulfill life’s demands of me of love, growth, and giving back to the world anyway.”

(*The only thought to focus on is, “The world—the universe—far outsizes us, we’re tiny specks and nothing more.”)

Similar to the one before, this can also be a pretty hard-hitting mindset. But it can also come with great benefits for your emotional detachment when experiencing adversity.

Author, Daniel Pink, said, “We don’t understand things in absolute terms, only in relative [or comparative] terms.” (Check out his Sales and Persuasion MasterClass.)

So, take us, for example. We as human beings are meaningfully big.

Well, compared to what? Compared to the infinite universe that we occupy? And what about when billions of years have gone by and we’re all probably extinct? Are we still so meaningfully important then compared to the magnitude of time?

See, every adversity we experience is always big and, therefore, deserving of a big reaction…until we compare that experience to something far bigger.

Then, our issue seems quite small.

Given that the universe (space) outsizes and outlives us and time overwhelms, overpowers, and eventually overthrows us…there’s no reason to think that we (or anything others do to us) is that important compared to such impossibly massive things.

Compared to those things with such large magnitudes, we’re insignificant. (And, to your benefit, so are your enemies from a mindset perspective.)

Now, I only chose disagreements and disrespect as an example of how you can apply this mantra because it’s one of the easier applications to grasp. However, the potential uses for this mantra are quite far-reaching and can actually apply to any difficult situation that you’d prefer to minimize to make it more mentally/emotionally manageable.

Revitalizing Your Nihilistic Attitudes

Sometimes you’ll experience moments when you don’t feel as influenced by these mantras and you become emotionally detached from them. (For example, you repeat them so much they begin to lose their weight and value for you.)

So, here are some techniques to rejuvenate their effectiveness.

Question Your Non-Nihilism

Especially if you’re not naturally very nihilistic, it can be easy to slip back into your old attitudes (even if they may be unhelpful for your goals of mental and emotional empowerment).

So, question your non-nihilistic side with an open-mindedness to the possibility that healthy nihilism is the universal truth.

For example:

You: “What if nobody cares about you?”

You: “What if it doesn’t matter? What if nothing matters?”

Remembering the truth of nihilism can help you find your emotional freedom again.

Meditate on Concepts That Validate Nihilism

Lucio Buffalmano, the head of this site, refers to healthy nihilism as “positive nihilism.”

And he shares these ideas as great points to meditate on that will help you internalize positive nihilism when you’re done:

  • Earth is only a little speck in the infinite universe (and no bigger than that): once you close your eyes and imagine all of the galaxies and Earth as a little speck in that grand space (and you don’t even need to go so far that you don’t see Earth anymore), then…thinking of how small you must be in that ultimate design allows the mindset of nihilism to come quite naturally.
    • The big chill: last time Lucio read about this topic, it was noted that the universe is expanding. And acceleratingly so. That almost inevitably will lead to a dispersion of energy and heat to the point where everything will be close to “absolute zero,” which would allow for no forms of life to be left. A big freeze. At that point, what you did or didn’t do doesn’t matter.
  • Dust you are and to dust you shall return: the (maybe eternal) cycle of life, of which you’re only a momentary manifestation.

And this may help as well (also from Lucio):

  • The history of evolution: starting from unicellular amebas, thinking of how wholly different we are now, and how wholly different we as humans will be in the future to the point that they (those future humans) won’t even think of us as their predecessors. And that’s being very giving of thinking of far-ahead life forms since:
    • The “norm of extinctions” should also be considered in such a case. On a long enough timeline, most forms of life will cease to exist (infinite survival is a next-to-impossible exception and not the norm at all).


Many people search the internet for answers to the question of “how to be confident.”

What most don’t know is that a more powerful approach is to seek the ability to act without confidence.

If you need to feel confident before taking an action, then you become dependent on experiencing positive feelings before going for what you want in life.

However, when people hear this, many of them think that that means they’ll have to feel uncomfortable, nervous, or anxious for the rest of their life. This isn’t true at all.

Instead, you can focus on developing the “confidence cousins”:

And by adding the attitudes of healthy nihilism in your pursuit of more mental and emotional freedom, you’ll only reach your goal of feeling more care-free and confident faster.

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