I think most of us are raised with preconceived notions of the choices we're supposed to make. We waste so much time making decisions based on someone else's idea of our happiness - what will make you a good citizen or a good wife or daughter or actress. Nobody says, 'Just be happy - go be a cobbler or go live with goats.'
It's not really about the competition. Your biggest challenge in a race is yourself. You're often racing against time. You're frequently running everything through your mind. You're always competing against preconceived ideas. It's not really the person next to you that you worry about.