Axioms of the self

How rewriting the rules you live by can help you overcome your self-imposed limitations.

Asher Isbrucker
5 min readOct 29, 2020
Illustration by me.

There’s a concept in mathematics and the sciences called an “axiom” or a “postulate” — it’s a technical term meaning a statement that is taken to be true. That statement then provides the logical foundation for a system of thinking. For example, the laws of thermodynamics are well-known axioms. That every action is met with an equal and opposite reaction is an axiom based on observation—so there is reason to believe that it is true—and it provides a foundation for modern science.

Axioms aren’t relegated solely to the realms of science and mathematics. We have axioms in our own lives as well, though we might not think of them that way. We might call our own personal axioms “limiting beliefs” or our “worldview”. These are statements about ourselves, other people, and society at large that we take to be true. They’re often based on observation and lived experience, but tainted by each of our subjective dispositions. Depending on the stories of our own lives—where and how we grew up, our wealth or lack thereof, our race, our religion, our sexual orientation, our education—each of us will have a different set of personal axioms. On the scale of objectivity, our minds fall near the opposite end of peer-reviewed and time-tested scientific…