How much time does it take to get a degree?
If you are bright, you are done within 5 years. You spend working hard most of the days along millions of others studing exactly the same. And what is the price in this race?
A right to enter a corporate world?
A life that you live 5pm-9am and on weekends?
Why would somebody invest so much when the stakes are so low and the competition so big?
I try to compare the both sides of the equation and it just does not hold. They are not equal. Of course, you may always say - it's not always like that!
But one is for sure, you almost certainly become a loser by a statistical rule. Why do you want to squeeze through the small door in front of you, together with all the mob, when you can go around the corner and pass through the big gate?
In most cases, the competition serves as a validation of what you are doing. Others are doing the same, so you can't be wrong. It assures you. It makes you feel comfortable.
But the feeling is fake. It is like playing a lottery, but on a much bigger time scale.
The race for a degree was just an opening example, but it also translates to other branches. In business, it is way harder to win 0.01% of a saturated market than 20% of a market on which there are no or few active players.
I learned it the hard way and it was a valuable lesson. Do not even dare to follow the crowd. To be excited and passioned is good, but it is not enough. If you want to win, you'd better take all the excitement and passion and concentrate it in an intense beam on something, which others don't do. Then statistics is on your side.