“Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.”
This is a quote by Dr. House from the TV series. He says it to one of his assistants, who has been diagnosed with a fatal genetic defect, the Huntington’s disease.
House makes her see what she can’t understand: why one of her patients is slipping back into her (dull) role as an assistant instead of striving for a leadership position herself, which previously she had decided to pursue in the face of her (subsequently prevented) death.
A less harsh version is true for many changes that we pursue in our life. Almost facing a consequence is not the same thing as actually facing a consequence. We’re much more committed when “almost” turns into “actually”.