You can still compete and there is money to be made but you cannot compete on the millisecond level nor constantly be looking only for the next tick. The idea as a retail trader is not to be first in line and then scratch if it doesn’t immediately go in your favor and do this thousands of times per day like an HFT program. It’s not even feasible unless you own a seat and pay nearly zero in commissions. The idea is to locate prices where the pressure may be building and the dam may break. Then you try to get onboard before the dam breaks or ride that wave as it’s breaking. The HFTs are trying to take advantage of every back and forth movement and that’s a game that a retail trader cannot win.