Everything is a competition. Financial, political, physical, workplace, school, etc. We've turned everything into a ranking model where somebody is always above or below somebody else. It pervades every single thing we do. It's this sort of thing that leads to deaths at WalMart on Black Friday, road rage beatings and shootings, backstabbing in the office, and anxiety in the classroom. If you're not winning, you're losing, and don't think for a second that it's happening without notice.
We're constantly anxious about our standing in some fashion. Will I be let go? Am I better looking than that person? Am I better off than that person? Am I smarter? Am I more aggressive?
We're overtly competitive in many ways, but the subtle pervasiveness of the competitive mindset is really troubling.