I learned in college that some people are just better than me, across every observable dimension. PB was a rowing teammate. He and I were two of the better runners on the heavyweight crew. (That is not necessarily a good thing. Heavyweight rowers can not afford the luxury of having runners' builds.) PB was a better runner than me. He was also a better rower than me. And he was a better student than me. Frankly, he was a nicer guy than me.
I may have forgotten this story. I fell into a semi-habit of seeing a better athlete and say "but what's (s)he do for work" or a better professor and say "but how is (s)he as an athlete."
Then today I learned of a leading figure in the antitrust academy and enforcement ranks who is not just a brilliant and productive thinker, he has (fairly) recently run a marathon mere seconds over the coveted 3:00 mark. My immediate reaction was to think I need to change up my training strategy. Or maybe I need to hang everything and write more and better.
Or there's the alternative of "running within myself." Like when I show up at a race and spot the runners who will beat me no matter what I do, or show up at a conference populated by the leading thinkers. All things equal I like the world better with those people in it, so the better strategy is to appreciate and not to compete.