Olga Pisarenko

By Olga Pisarenko

The best project you can work on

 (The importance of personal advancement)

 “It’s not what we get in life, it’s who we become.” – Jim Rohn

Once we graduate from university or school, we feel that learning is behind us and we are now on a mission of putting into life everything we’ve learnt. As we grow, we change. Learning changes our worldview and knowledge expands our horizons. Our perception of the world transforms and through this process we gradually change our personalities, and, as a result, our lives.

Developing as individuals is essential to our vision of self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. Evolving new skills and growing as a person is a natural process. As humans, we need to constantly move, because in the movement a person acquires all the new skills that he needs in understanding his vital needs. If we do not progress, we become passive and spiritless.

Find your challenges

I like to be challenged, and I like to feel progress. It could be progress in any aspect but I must have a feeling of moving forward. My educational background covers law, accounting, business and finance. After completing my postgraduate finance degree at Saïd Business School, I knew that my learning journey is far from being over. During my time at the School, we were not only looking into finance-related subjects but also into leadership, ability to see the bigger picture and, most importantly, how to get the knowledge to contribute to personal development, which will lead to the realisation of our dreams and aspirations.

I now work full time in finance and I am trying not to limit my development to just being profession-related. Growing as a person leads you up in your career too and becoming an executive (whether you are or aiming to be – CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) means developing yourself as “a whole person”.

Timing is important

Everything in life accumulates: knowledge, our experiences, emotions. Unsurprisingly, if we get everything at once, it will quickly bore us, but if we accumulate new things gradually, we will get more satisfaction from life. Do things at your own pace and time – a time when it feels right.

Realise your potential

We all have a lot of potential. It is not about whether you have an immense potential or small, it’s about the strength of the power of keeping pushing forward. I see self-improvement not as being important but essential. Self-learning and self-development are key components of success.

I was lucky to have met some of the most successful and inspiring people, who achieved in life almost everything anyone would ever want. “Almost” is a key word.  Despite of “having it all” – i.e. wealth, success, opportunities that many can only dream of, these people appear to be the hungriest for knowledge, self-development, progression and self-discipline. The truth is that they will never have enough to stop them continuing to grow, learn and improve.

Adapt a model that works for you

Constant learning is a huge part of the lives of today’s most successful entrepreneurs, in fact, it had been in the past too. Benjamin Franklin’s Five Hour Rule, which is about dedicating one hour a day on every weekday to deliberate learning, is still followed by many. Franklin’s learning time consisted of reading, writing, turning ideas into experiments, setting personal-growth goals and tracking the results.

We all know about reading habits of Warren Buffet who reads at least 500 pages a day, Mark Cuban spending up to 3 hours of his day reading books, and Bill Gates reading 50 books a year. This habit was developed by them long before the times when they found their present state so it is one of the criteria for the path to success.

Jeff Weiner devotes 2 hours a day to reflections. Brian Scudamore spends about 10 hours a week thinking. Sarah Blakely has more than 20 notebooks, where she records all the terrible and good things that happen to her. These people allocated time for reflection, analysing, thinking over mistakes and at the same time they learned something new. Every new book, every new discovery, observation and thought, brings you closer to a happy life.


We need to be rigorous in the process of learning to have a fuller lifestyle. As A. Einstein said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” It does not matter what you do for your self-improvement but the importance of acquiring new skills cannot be underestimated.

Learning and growing becomes a necessity to have a good feeling every day – the feeling that you have accomplished something new, tried something different, know something else you did not know yesterday. It becomes an attitude and it slowly integrates in your life. Despite being very busy, somehow you will still find time to pursue one or another of your new goals.

The best textbook for development and the best project you can work on is You. Working on yourself is a never-ending pursuit so there would always be something to learn, achieve, master. Just remember that what you become is far more important than what you get so do not be afraid to open new horizons and expand your boundaries.

As for myself, I am now learning and exploring something very different to what I’ve done before and I will be sharing some insights with you in my next post. Please also share your new goals, plans, strategies and ideas.


What have you learned today? How do you fit your improvement in your busy schedule? Do you have a role model?

Please share your insights.

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