If you follow business at all, you probably are pretty familiar with serial entrepreneur Elon Musk. And we likely can agree that there's some division about him--some people see him as a genius, while others think he's putting his businesses in danger.

But there's no argument about Musk's work ethic. He famously works 100+ hour weeks, and while he's admitted that that habit hasn't exactly brought happiness, there's no shortage of exploration into his exact schedule from people who are both awed and looking to copy Musk's success.

Please don't waste your time doing that.

I'm all for having role models. We all need inspiration and advice. But the problem with comparing yourself to Musk (or anyone else) is that there is no comparison. Your business(es) can require vastly different things than Musk's. Your personality might be such that you're more OK with delegating than he is. Your body might not handle the breakfast (or lack of it) that his body gets. Friends can be more or less demanding, and opportunities can present themselves to you in vastly different ways at very different times. And your passions may be more or less complex, too. Your skill set and experiences probably are unique, as well.

So if all your work is done, should you give up your time to read or hit the grocery store just because Musk is researching or making calls?

Should you feel any less accomplished knowing that your team is handling it all as you take a class?

Should you berate yourself for not doing more if you've already reached high personal goals, just because someone else set different ones?

Is a star tennis player a failure for not being able to catch a football?

The harsh reality is, it doesn't matter two cents what anyone else does. What matters is that you have clear objectives that always challenge you, that grow you, that feel exciting to you. What matters is that you make the most out of each day that you personally can, given whatever circumstances come your way.

And the truth is, Musk (and others) sit on a very, very narrow picture of what success means. We're conditioned to be fearful of ostricization and struggle. We're taught to think that success means never resting, having the title, climbing the ladder. But that simply isn't true. Real success means being happy with yourself and those around you, and having a positive impact on those you come into contact with. That happiness and impact can come from a nearly infinite combination of paths. And if you're really innovating, you'll likely walk a combination no one ever has tried before.

So stop looking after Musk's footsteps. Take Bruce Lee's advice and stop comparing. Look around and see what you can do and want, and then simply commit to being the absolute best you can every day. No one fails who is able to do that.

Published on: Sep 2, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.