In terms of high stakes in a sporting contest, it doesn't come more glaring than on a Formula 1 racetrack.
One mistake and you can go from a feeling of cruise control, to losing it all in a blink of a eye.
Victories are a precious commodity and Max Verstappen was well on the way back-to-back successes after greeting the chequered flag at the Mexican GP.
However, all that changed on lap 44 when the young Dutchman collided into Esteban Ocon which sent the Red Bull into a spin and Verstappen's race hopes in real jeopardy.
The last driver on the grid that you want to give an opportunity to is Lewis Hamilton and as it happened, he was right on the spot to make the most of Verstappen's misfortune.
The British driver overcame some mechanical issues in the closing stages to collect his 10th win of the season and the constructors' title for Mercedes.
For Verstappen, it was his fifth podium in six races, but the 21-year-old found little reason to celebrate.
Instead, the fiery competitor went looking for Ocon and engaged in a bit of old-fashioned push and shove along with a few choice words.
Despite being well behind in the race, Ocon's own professional pride was such that he wanted to get back onto the same laps as the leading contingent.
While in theory that was completely understandable, the race director took a different view and handed the Frenchman a 10-second stop penalty.
In his piece for Sky Sports, renowned Formula 1 commentator Martin Brundle felt that penalty was deserved, but also thought Verstappen was slightly at fault and needs to have a think about his conduct in future.
"It's not just about who you run into in motorsport, it's also about avoiding others running into you and Max will probably leave more space in future, although of course he can't abandon his relentless press-on style.
"The chequered flag normally signals the end of the action, but Max was still fuming.
"He doesn't like advice but I have some for him anyway; I recommend he doesn't threaten to headbutt journalists in a press conference or punch drivers over the radio when returning to the pits.
"Just keep it in your head if that's what you're thinking at some angry point.
"When I spoke to him afterwards he was surprised about the episode 'because I didn't punch him'.
"I love characters and passion in this digital world of ours, but Max needs to address this red mist as it will cost him dearly down the road somewhere."
Brundle has virtually seen it all in his career as a driver and in his current role as a commentator for Sky.
Verstappen should heed those wise words as he certainly has got a reputation of losing his head from time to time as the Ferrari pair of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will testify to.
If he can harness that aggression while still keeping that burning ambition and will to win, we could be looking at a real contender for the world title before too long.