Let's apply this principle from a spiritual perspective. We don't want to be oh, so close to getting to Heaven. We don't want to almost get to Heaven. We don't want to get right up to the threshold of the pearly gate. We want to get all the way into Heaven! We want to move in and take up permanent residence.
Only those who "finish the race" victorious will receive the "crown of righteousness" (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Only those who "fight the good fight of faith" successfully will be able to "lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:12). Jesus states that only "he who does the will of My Father in Heaven" will "enter the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Only those who openly confess Christ here in this world can expect Him to confess their names before God in Heaven (Matthew 10:32). Only "he who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). Only he who "abides in the doctrine of Christ" has a saving relationship with God (2 John 9). Only those who remain "faithful until death" will be given "the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
Truth is narrow. A person doesn't win Olympic gold in swimming by just jumping in the pool and splashing around a little. He has to compete by the ruiles, and he has to finish the race ahead of all of his competitors. If he finishes oh, so close but not in first place, he loses!
Similarly, we must run the race of life by the rules, God's rules. But we don't have to beat everybody else out in order to be victorious. Everyone can be a winner. Everyone who finishes the race, who crosses the finish line in faithfulness to God, wins. Even better, God does not expect us to do it by ourselves. Our Savior is there to help us where we're weak, when we are in danger of coming up short (Philippians 4:13). God does not leave us to run this race alone. "The victory is through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Don't finish this all important race just oh, so close. Walk with the Lord in faithfulness throughout the rest of your life, and you'll receive your victory crown from Him at the finish line.