You Already Have What You Need To Succeed… But What Is It?

As promised from last week’s article, I’ll let you know the tips that went with the 30 Circles Test.

You can check out last week’s article here:

One of the things the creator of the test, Bob McKim, found was that a lot of people would draw something, like a smiley face, and then consider that was the only facial expression they could use on the test, and struggle to figure out as many varied concepts to fill in the circles as possible. To complete the task effectively, you could do as many versions of the same theme as you liked.

There was never any rule that stated you couldn’t draw as many facial expressions in the circles as you liked to exhaust that possibility, it’s just a self imposed restriction that many people take on of their own accord. This leads me to the topic for today’s article; self-imposed limitations and how to overcome them.

The Benefits of Extreme Challenge

Limitations are mostly in our head, we’re the ones placing them on ourselves, and there’s often no need to do so. I’m currently researching for a book I’m writing about how we have capacities well beyond our current spectrum.  Unfortunately, it’s often only when we’re pushed to extreme challenges in life that we become aware of our extraordinary abilities.

Through my research, I’m finding that people who have faced incredible challenges seem to come through with a level of self-assurance and humility that is only achieved after life has stripped away a lot of the superfluous, egocentric aspects of our character. The other thing I’m finding is that these people take more risks and tend to be more successful in whatever area of life they focus on. Because they’ve been slammed by life before, they don’t fear it as much as those who don’t know what it’s like to hit rock bottom.

Increasing Self Assurance and Risk Taking

So, how do you get that level of self-assurance to take risks and push yourself way out of your comfort zone if life hasn’t already done it for you? A few articles ago, I referenced a TED talk by Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days. This is one way that I’ve found extremely successful for pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to realize that I can do all sorts of things I wouldn’t have imagined possible.

Uncovering Your Success Stories

There’s another technique worth doing as well. List all the challenging experiences you’ve had in you life. Then look down the list and take notes of how much you learned from them. Give yourself credit for whatever you did to handle those challenges. Then write as many benefits as you can that resulted from your challenging experiences.

When I wrote my first book, this was an exercise I did during the content creating process. It draws out the stories that we all have hidden inside of us that have shaped our lives.

I was amazed to remember that when I was just 14 years old, I rode in a 160km horse race that started at 3 o’clock in the morning and I rode until around 7:30 that evening when I crossed the finish line. I did this with no training at all. I had returned home from boarding school for holidays and off I went.

It wasn’t until I reflected on that experience that I realized how insane that really was and what an accomplishment it was. I can’t even imagine having the mental or physical stamina to do that now! But I know if for some weird reason I had to, I could.

What You Get From Completing The Exercise

When you do this exercise and list your life’s major challenges, it will shift your perceptions on how capable you really are. You will know you can handle life’s challenges because you’ve done so before and come through them. By listing the benefits of the challenging experiences, you will get a stronger sense of gratitude for having them.

The result of completing the exercise is you increase your self-assurance, and this in turn will affect how well you handle risk taking and pushing beyond your comfort zone. Both of these things are key elements if you want to be successful in any area of life.

What Makes The World Work For You

Don’t forget humility though. It’s a hollow victory without it, because humility is one of the greatest gifts in relationships. Your relationships make the world work for you, more so than anything else, in business and in social life.

Humility and vulnerability are the cornerstones of human connection, both of them surface when you’ve been through incredible challenges. They can be sacrificed if you become hardened by life. With self assurance, the key to keeping your humility and vulnerability intact is feeling gratitude for the people and events that shaped you through life’s struggles.

I hope you find those hidden gifts and bring them to the surface to raise your self assurance and increase your awareness of how capable you are. Good luck!

Cheers, Neroli.

About Neroli Makim

Neroli Makim is an intuitive artist and writer who loves exploring Creativity and its relationship to personal fulfillment and professional success. She educates people about Creativity, what it is, why it’s important and how to access it within themselves. For more information, visit

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  • It’s amazing what the mind can do when it decides not to be afraid anymore, isn’t it? I relate to your experience of participating in a race that starts at 3 in the morning. It’s tough, but once accomplished, it sends these vibes of mightiness through the body; it’s as if we can achieve anything as long as we put our heart to it (not forgetting that most people find it hard to wake up in the early hours, let alone take part in a grueling race).

    And of course, humility plays a big part in success…especially in today’s increasingly impersonal world. It’s something that all business owners should reflect on, because the pursuit of wealth is just one aspect of success.

    • Hey jeff:) I like your comment about the pursuit of wealth being just one aspect of success, I agree completely, cheers, neroli

  • Finding the confidence to take risk can be a challenge, but if you wan tot be successful then you will have to find the strength.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Hey Antonio, how’s it going? Strength is an interesting thing huh? We often have reserves of it we’re not aware of:) cheers, neroli

  • What an inspiring post! Thank you, Neroli. It is very true that our challenges shape us and help us to become stronger.

    • Hey anna, nice to see you again;) I love looking at the way challenges shape people, including myself…it’s like observing the history of some very intricate creative process, cheers, neroli

    • I believe that challenges or brick walls are put into place to separate the strong from the weak.

      Or as one guy told me, brick walls are put into place to be torn down…not to hold you back. Every challenge you overcome, the competition becomes less and less.

  • Great inspiring article.Intimately, the post is really the greatest on this worthw hile topic. I match in with your conclusions and can eagerly look forward to your next updates.

    • Cool, glad you liked my article, thanks for dropping by and popping a comment whilst here too, cheers:) neroli

  • hi Neroli-
    true perspective. as you point out, once the superfluous is gone it is easier to see who You are. the importance of Life is clear.

    • Hey Kara:) great to see you again too, there are some familiar names and faces dropping in that i haven’t seen here for a while.

      I love that aspect of life’s struggles, the stripping away element…even though it can be a pretty raw experience, it somehow feels good when you’re free of all the junk;) cheers, neroli

  • Wow – I never thought of success this way! I really *do* have everything I need to succeed, and after this I find myself far more motivated to do so. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


    • Hey laurie, I’m glad you liked it:) It is really worth doing the exercise because you’ll find all sorts of cool stuff out about your life’s experiences that have made you so capable and competent.

      I think we just forget to dig for the gold inside of ourselves, and it isn’t until we do that the gold on the outside shows up, cheers, neroli

  • great life lesson that is universally applicable!!!!!

    • Hey Sunil, great to see you here:)

      I love your articles on e-j, don’t get to read all of them but make sure i check them out now and again. Thanks for your comment, seems like you know your strengths & capabilities very well as well as how to push beyond your comfort zone…funny avatar – sponge b:)

      Cheers, neroli

  • Well said! We must discover ourselves to succeed.

    • indeed, we must:) Thanks for dropping by, cheers, neroli

  • Hmm, this definitely ties in with that great saying, what lies ahead of us and what lies behind us is nothing compared with what lies within us!

    I just went wow when I read that part about the 160km horse race. Doing that without any training at all is not just outstanding but a testimonial that when the mind decides on accomplishing a task, nothing else do matter!

    A really encouraging read.

    • Hey Chadrack 😉 I love that saying you mentioned, it’s so true! I remember in that horse race being really tired near the end and just wanting to be at the finish. My poor horse was even more tired. The horse was trained for the race, but it was still a huge thing for it to do. I got off and walked few times to give the horse a rest.

      You want to know what’s really crazy about this story? I never have myself much credit for that accomplishment, because i always compared myself to my older brother, who had won a 250km horse race when he was 11, and he had a broken arm! He-he, it’s so crazy to think I was so busy comparing myself like that and ignoring my own accomplishment.

      Thanks for dropping by, cheers, neroli

  • You can really boost one’s self confidence Neroli! 🙂 You make me believe in my self more with every article you write. Thanks!

    • he-he, thanks GB:) Glad they’re giving you a lift, we all need one now and again to keep working at it. Thanks for dropping in again too, cheers, neroli

  • Hi Neroli,

    thanks for the great post. One question though: I’ve tried all the above many times, and it did often help, but for some reason I seem to fall back into my old limitations after the experience has gone. A similar thing happens with taking coaching. What’s your take on this?


  • Hey Neroli! I would like to share my own personal experience regarding limitations here.But first of all thank you for this post.One and a half year ago I was in a financial mess and it forced me to look for new earning opportunities.And this led me to the huge world of e-commerce.Just one year ago I had zero knowledge about website ,blogging,affiliate marketing.But in last one year I have learned more about business and Internet than I’ve learned in my previous entire life.At first it seemed to be impossible because I had a limiting belief that the people who are earning money online have better technical and business skills.After overcoming this limitation I have progressed at a rate which I have never seen or felt in my life.
    I just want to convey that human brain is the most powerful device on this planet and when we are forced to put this device at work then we are surprised by the ability of our own brain that how easily it can unlock the mysteries and puzzles.

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