We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the success and achievements of others.

Oftentimes we measure and compare ourselves to the achievements of others and it creates a feeling of inadequacy.

To be clear, not comparing yourself does not mean that you are oblivious to the market and your competitors.

We need to compare ourselves the right way in order to create a framework that we can build from and grow with.

Comparing yourself the right way is more about judging your actions to an appropriate comparison that builds self-worth and confidence.

Stop comparing yourself to others on social media, oftentimes you would not trade your life for theirs if you had a chance to check behind the curtain.

Only compare yourself to people who you want to be like in all areas of their life – physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental.

Emulate someone that is world class in all of these areas.

You need to be prepared to do what’s necessary to become like your role models so choose someone realistic and practical. This does not mean aim low, on the contrary this means to choose someone who you can emulate immediately.

One of the biggest pitfalls I see is when people compare themselves to someone that is so much farther ahead than them that being them is unrealistic and impractical.

This does not mean that you will never be like them, however when we choose someone that is so far ahead of us it seems like no matter what we do we cannot catch up to them and this create feelings of inadequacy.

Do not compare yourself to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Ellen, etc unless they are in arm’s reach of you.

Compare yourself to a mentor or peer that has more success than you do and you see the light at the end of the tunnel on how to get there.

There are right times to compare and wrong times to compare.

David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, uses this framework compare himself appropriately and succeed in all that he does.

He’s used this framework to build a net worth of over $10 million dollars at just 23 years old.

                                                    David speaking at the United Nations

Originally born in Shanghai, David immigrated to the United States at 12 years old with his mother.

Both did not speak any English. He had to grow up very fast because he was in charge of adult documents like loans, credit applications, and taxes.

This experience gave David the foundation to build businesses at an early age.

Now he is the founder of NXTFactor, a 7-figure digital agency that has worked with over one hundred clients on their digital marketing.

He has formed corporate partnerships with brands like Yelp, JetSmarter, Google, Shopify, American Express, Visa, and Paypal.

He is a partner in a hot pot franchise called Chubby Cattle and luxury car rental company called NXT Auto.

Lastly, he is a young venture capitalist who has already raised his first fund of $5 million dollars to invest into industry agnostic projects as he builds his credibility while attending The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

As the founder of Leave Normal Behind, I am always speaking with those who are living an above normal life, creating things that matter, and becoming the best version of themselves.

David is a visionary that displays humility, patience, and urgency.

Below I’ve shared the detailed framework that David uses in his life and business.

This framework can be applied in many different ways and I want you to use this framework for how it best applies to you.

This framework gives alignment and perspective that all people can learn from.

Here we go …

1. Self-awareness. Ask Questions.

Great thinkers like Albert Einstein and Socrates have shared how important it is to ask ourselves powerful questions. Our brains are problem solving machines, and once we ask ourselves the right questions our minds begin to go to work on solving the question we asked ourselves. Before you can begin to focus/feel better you need to ask yourself a series of framing questions that will guide you and cause you to think on a deep level.

Ask yourself: What do I want to do ? Why do I want to do that ? Do I really want that ? What do I have to do right now in order to take a step in the right direction ?

Ask yourself better questions then you are asking yourself right now.

Get the full picture.

2. Find the appropriate comparison in the appropriate industry. 

Most people lack common sense when it comes to goal-setting and choosing who their role models are.

Often, we compare ourselves to the best in the industry instead of doing research to find an appropriate comparison that we can learn from and strive to be. For example, if you are just starting out, does it make sense to compare yourself to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg?

The answer is no, yet most of us compare ourselves and our achievements to role models to have achieved significantly more than us and it creates anxiety, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.

Instead of comparing yourself to these billionaires, compare yourself to a peer or industry leader who inspires you and whose is more easily attainable.

Respect the billionaires, and learn from the millionaires.

More accurately … learn from someone who’s accomplishments are 10x, not 100x or 1000x.

If you’re a startup entrepreneur then look for other startup entrepreneurs that you wish to emulate and execute on the actions that they are executing and then once you’ve achieved more success then set a new role model whose success inspires you and is achievable.

Continue doing this process of goal and role model setting as you grow and achieve new goals.

Most people do not take the time to research on their peers who they can learn from and instead compare their success to billionaires, celebrities, and superstars and therefore feel anxious and inadequate.

We should be inspired by these people and work our tails off to achieve that level of success, (if we want too), and we should remain aware that these people are oftentimes not good people to compare ourselves too because they have different stories, come from a different place, and are at a different chapter of their lives then us.

Be aware of who you are comparing yourself too and make sure you’ve chosen the appropriate role model that you can emulate in a realistic and practical way.

Once you’ve achieved their level of success, choose a new role model.

3. Create Milestones.

Once you’ve found an appropriate role model comparison you need to dissect their habits and learn as much as you can in order to reverse engineer their actions. Reverse engineering means to take something apart piece by piece in order to reassemble it back up again.

When we reverse engineer the actions of our role models we can create a roadmap on how we can achieve our goals by acting more successfully and following the roadmap set by our role models.

Execute on these milestones and they will bring you towards the level of happiness and success that you wish to achieve.

                                            David Zhao and his team at NXT Factor in NYC

4. Practice. Effort. Execution.

Once you have reverse engineered the action plan all you need to do is execute. There’s no reason to think much more deeply on the roadmap if you’ve done a good enough job at creating your milestones.

Effort builds confidence and self-esteem. Stop planning your playbook and just start doing. Watch less and do more.

Many people suffer from “Paralysis by Analysis”.

We over analyze in our minds which prevents us from getting the work done. Imperfect action is better than no action at all. The only way you can achieve your milestones is if you take consistent action every single day.

You will find, that when you are consumed in your own work that it is more difficult to compare yourself to others because you are blinded by the work you are doing. This puts you in a powerful position because you begin to compare yourself to YOURSELF !

Each day you are in a competition with yourself to do better than you did the day before. This is an empowering place to be in because through your hard work and effort you will build your confidence and self-esteem because you’ve stopped comparing yourself to others which made you feel inadequate.

5. Work with peers/mentors in the same industry.

When you execute you start to attract the right people and learn from people who have done it better. Keep learning, growing, and iterating.

No one ever did something completely by themselves. They learned from someone and then used their own creativity to innovate.

Without their peers or mentors they would not know the things that they know.

You can learn a lot from your peers and mentors. Learn from their mistakes and learn from their successes.

Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene states that species who learn from others mistakes are better off than species to only learn through trial and error. This makes a lot sense.

For example, do you need to know that you should look both ways before crossing the street or do you need to be hit by a car first in order to understand the importance of it ?

Obviously our common sense shows us that due to someone else’s trial and error of getting hit by a car we’ve learned as a species to look both ways before crossing the street.

Similarly, why would you need to go through all the mistakes and pitfalls in business yourself, instead of leveraging the experience and expertise of mentors who have come before you.

Learn from their mistakes so you do not have to make them on your own.

Learn from their successes so you can fast track your own success.


Utilizing this framework will create clarity and leverage in your life and business.

You will feel empowered and in control.
No more feeling inadequate because you are the one who is setting your milestones and you’ve chosen an appropriate role model that you can aspire towards.

This framework can be used in life and business.

Make sure to stay up-to-date with David and follow him on social media.

If you, or anyone you know, is a rising star or leader that is leaving normal behind, becoming the best version of yourself, or creating things that matter then send me an email for us to connect: [email protected]

                           Rob Fajardo – Founder of Leave Normal Behind and 30u30 Thought Leader


  • Rob Fajardo

    Thought Leader featured in Inc., Forbes, and Everipedia. Founder of Leave Normal Behind and Host of LNB Tv.

    Rob is a sought-after speaker, thought leader, and business accelerator. He is the founder of Leave Normal Behind - a community, content, and events hub for purpose driven people. The mission of LNB is to inspire others to become the best version of themselves and create things that matter. He is also one of the viral marketing partners behind fidget spinners. He has been listed in Buzzfeed and Everipedia as a top u30 Millennial influencer to follow