Former US Olympian PattiSue Plumer once said that "racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of." and I'd agree.
Racing gives you a goal
Racing is a form of competition that can be good as it gives you a goal to strive for. Having a goal helps you focus your energies onto the task at hand and ensuring that that objective is fulfilled rather than trying to do a little bit of everything. In business, it means that companies are competing against each other look to bring the best of each other in move towards differentiating themselves from each other in order to remain competitive.
Sometimes you need to compete against yourself
As individuals though, while we can challenge ourselves by competing with others, there are times when we actually may find there is no one else to compete with. So the only person you're competing with is yourself, but how do you strive for more?
Generally when you competing you have someone or something to benchmark against, so when competing against yourself, you can think of things that you know realistically you could do such as trying to best your personal bet or having a milestone/ goal of where you believe you can push yourself. You have to be realistic though, and remember that it's not always much about competing, though that can be fun at times.
But it's about knowing where we could push ourselves and reaching our own limits, rather than those of others and/or those are imposed onto us by others. For me this was what I found in my running, as I was pushing my own limits and not that of anyone else. Sure I found role models and inspiration of other runners, but I never focused on racing and competing purely, I was satisfied with completing a race. It was that satisfaction of competing the race no matter what which inspired me.
So just think of something you believe that is challenging and realistic and one which will help you find out what you are truly capable of, because at the end of the day it's about you and how you want to challenge yourself. Who knows, you might find some hidden potential you never realised you had in doing so...