“Being competitive” is not a choice. It has no “when.” Competition means comparison. Whenever two things are compared, they are in competition with each other. Whenever you are compared to others, you are in a competition. People choose to support you, oppose you, or, as in most cases, ignore you based upon how well your position compares to those of others from their perspective.
The only question is: do you know how to compete? That is, to you know how to improve your position in the minds of others. Most people do not. They don’t choose not to compete, they simply haven’t done the work to get good at it.