No doubt that some can live in this sphere but from my own experience and observing others, what Guy says below is very true. I've been thinking much lately about my own photographic work. Often I feel a fraud calling it work, I'm not a professional. But it is work, lots of hours spent in joy, studying and shooting. It's still work if you like it. Lots of studying leads to reading a lot of other's work and experiences, seeing their photos. Maybe it's human nature to become competitive. Are we hard wired to win the contest? Perhaps. In saying this, how much of your photographic journey are you enjoying? Is it the win or the wander you like most? Personally, I'd like to live a photographic life as expressed below, but I feel I may have strayed.
Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Sulu
"A distinction I do not particularly care to earn is "award winning." One of the most pervasive and harmful effects of competition is the mindset that it is more important to strive to be better than others, by the arbitrary opinion of someone else, than to simply make yourself into the best that you can be. It implies placing greater importance on how others perceive you than on the personal rewards of creative work, and to bind your perception of your self to such opinions rather than to trust your own. In that sense, it is relinquishing control of your own self worth and enjoyment of photography, handing it off to others for the small chance of a short lived moment of fame."