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Choosing Axiomatic Beliefs

Jeremiah Rogers
Jeremiah Rogers
1 min read

We often use the word "belief" to describe things we have evidence for.

For example almost everyone believes in gravity.

But what about things we don't have evidence for? Can we believe in something with no evidence?

We can, and I think any other definition of belief is a poor use of such a powerful word.

I don't need to believe that gravity works, or that eating more than I burn makes me gain weight. I have plenty of evidence for those.

The word belief is most valuable when adopted either without evidence or before evidence arrives.

Seven beliefs which are valuable to adopt with no evidence...

  1. That everyone has something to teach us, and that we have something to teach everyone.
  2. That all long term improvements are impossible to see in the short term.
  3. That every painful experience has given us a lesson that was worth the pain.
  4. That the only thing we can truly control is our reactions and our emotions.
  5. That feeling good about ourselves is objectively better in all circumstances than hating ourselves.
  6. That any skill is learnable and that the challenge of trying, failing, and succeeding will make us feel good.
  7. That everything that happens to us is an opportunity.

A big part of my work with clients is discovering what they believe and challenging that belief if it isn't serving them.

This works because our thoughts are remarkably malleable and many of our destructive thoughts fall apart under scrutiny.

A lesson I've taken from this is that when we hear or say something we should consider reversing it to see if the opposite is also true. Frequently it is.

And if a thought and the opposite of the thought can both be true, why not choose the one that serves us better?