Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed

I'd been feeling a bit frustrated with my writing when I found this amazing video. If you can spare five minutes, it's worth it. Ric Elias was on Flight 1549 when the plane crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009.

If you can't spare the time, I'll summerise: It's about discovering the things in life that truly matter. Ric Elias no longer postpones anything anymore because everything can change in an instant. He regrets letting his ego get in the way and the time he's wasted on things that don't matter with people who do matter. And he realised that above all things his family comes first.

His experience reminded me that life is short and that while agonising over every word is normal as a writer, fretting about pleasing everyone, worrying about getting it right and stressing about achieving 'success' isn't what I should be doing. First and foremost, I love to write so I'll just keep writing and enjoy the whole process. 

If you had an experience like Ric Elias', what do you think you would change in your life?

For the direct link to the video go here.

Thank You: A huge thank you to those lovely writers who offered to critique my short story: Shallee McArthur, Heather McCorkle, M Pax, Rachna Chhabria, Bethany Yeager, L.A Speedwing and Pam Williams. Also to Stacy S. Jensen for spreading the word via Twitter. It is much appreciated.

Jury Duty: my jury duty is on hold for another week so I'm back to my usual posting schedule until the 24th when they may or may not need me. Who knows what will happen after that?


  1. Great reminder! That's what I've been telling myself about writing most of yesterday: enjoy it. (Also, I love TED videos!)

  2. I don't see how it couldn't change your life!
    Other events can change one's life. I'm not ashamed to say I didn't much care for people before I became a Christian. Now I know people are far more important than 'things' in life.

  3. This was beautiful. Thank you for posting it. I really need to hear this today. :)

  4. Wow Linda, thank you for sharing. I took notes, and I'm going to spend some time thinking about this -- and share it with friends as well.

  5. I love books and films with lifechanging stories, those are usually the most inspiring and the most uplifting!

    I'd probably move away from the country and start pursuing some of my talents in a more active way.

  6. We had a tornado not too long ago, nothing serious like in Joplin, but having never been in one, it kind of scared the pants off me in ways I won't forget.

    I've changed the way I think about "things" since then. You can't take them with you when you die, so getting attached now is kind of stupid, really.

  7. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! Thank you so much for posting :)

  8. Plamena, aren't they brilliant!

    Alex, yes, exactly. Becoming a Christian changes everything.

    Tristyn, so good to hear

    Amie, I think it is an important message.

    Dezzy, so... what's stopping you?

    Anne, I reckon a tornado would be sooo scary. And you are so right.

    WritingNut, it is inspiring and I hope it helps others as it helped me.

  9. Something like that certainly would change your outlook on life. It's just so easy to take everything for granted and get hung up on petty issues. It's a shame it sometimes takes a life-altering moment like that to wake up.

  10. Really puts thing into perspective! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wonderful video, thank you for sharing. It's hard not to sweat the small stuff, but Ric makes an excellent argument for focusing on what really matters.

  12. It is so true. So often we don't prioritize the proper way. I find when I say wait a minute, it's never quite a minute, and sometimes it's just plain never. Missed opportunities become the dreams we end up missing out on.

    Tossing It Out

  13. Something like this would definitely change my life. I would then get all my priorities into perspective and throw out the things that I can do without.

  14. The effects near-death experiences have on people are quite interesting.

  15. I love stopping to consider these things. I try to live each day as if it's my last, sort of. No putting off til tomorrow..etc. Thanks for this reminder Lynda. Also great about your CPs. I missed that. I'm sure you're in good hands.


  16. Ego really does get in the way! This post serves as a good reminder to live each day as if it's the last. Thank you for your thoughts.

  17. I love TED talks. I often get moments where I realise that I'm wasting time or that I could be doing more with myself. I think the big hit was when I read 'Yes Man' by Danny Wallace, and how a whole host of opportunities opened up for him just by losing his hesitancy. I need to be more like that.

  18. You know, I listened to this and I thought about what I would change. I would be in touch with my family more, I would do more with my kids, things like that. Then I thought 'do I have to be in an almost fatal plane crash before I do those things?'

    Thank you for posting this.

  19. The lovely Amie Kaufman referred me to this link.

    Thank you to you both from a very new parent who found it very inspiring.

  20. Yes I would definitely change. I've tried to take that attitude anyway. Family and friends are more important and a day without work is okay when we're needed elsewhere. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Will watch this when I get home!!

    I guess the closest I can think of from my own personal experiences is the recent death of my sister. Even as her disability continued to debilitate her as she got older, she always took risks, always wanted to get out and about and do things and always wanted to live for the moment - even in her last months, her diary was full of what she planned to do. She was so unlike me who dithers and who lets fear and insecurities overwhelm!

    Take care

  22. what's stopping me?
    plain and simple - money and support :)

  23. Awesome video. I've now lived long enough to know what is and isn't important to me. I've had many experiences that have taught me how quickly life can change.

    As my hubby says, "Life is too short to be small."

  24. Once I turned around and my baby was grown and I realized I had missed so many things. I began to downsize my life; learned to never say no to children, grandchildren and now a great grandchild when asked to be present.

  25. I'm a bit embarrassed by my honest answer so I think I'll just keep it to myself.

  26. Absolutely. Nothing like a traumatic experience to get our priorities straight! There ARE more important things than writing, though we do love it, huh? :)

  27. This is a very powerful message, Lynda. I listened to it twice then played it for my husband. Ric's statement about the gift of being able to look into the future and then come back & change the way he was living his life, really stuck with me. It's not just about writing, although it is quite a motivator to stop putting things off, but it is a wake up call about how to live our lives. I will definitely challenge myself to be a better parent and to live without negativity.

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Luanne, it is a shame it takes something like that to wake us up, but it's also a great opportunity to learn from someone else's experience so we don't have to go through it ourselves before we change.

    Jessie, it does.

    E R King, it is sometimes hard not the sweat the small stuff, so this is a great reminder.

    Lee, yes, exactly. I'd like to avoid missed opportunities.

    Read, indeed.

    Rachna, those changes you mentioned are a work in progress. I don't think it can happen overnight, so its worth starting early.

    McKenzie, yes, they are.

    Denise, yes, the CPs have been a huge help.

  29. Joanne, yes, we've gotta take control of that pesky ego.

    Jamie, losing our hesitancy...I like that.

    Sarah, yes! My thought too. There's no need to wait.

    Nick, fantastic :)

    Laura, I try as well :)

    Old Kitty, we sound a lot alike. I too dither too much.

    Javid, :)

    Dezzy, It's a shame that a 'little' thing like money has the power to stop us, or at least slow us down.

    Bish, ha, I love your hubby's saying.

    Mary, downsizing life is a good way to live. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be? :)

    Suze, you've got me curious, but I'll respect that.

    Carol, thoroughly love it.

    Melissa, that's fantastic to hear. I think these wake up calls come to us as gifts.

  30. I had a similar, altho not as dramatic, epiphany a year ago when my sister's husband suddenly died ... when I disappeared for a few weeks last fall. Last fall was so terrible with so many things going on, not a day goes by this fall that I'm not thankful for what I have.

    Any type of shock is life changing. Wish more people would come to realize sooner. Life is very short. Be happy. Be you.

  31. Lynda, we must be on the same wavelength today. I did a post on perspective, too. There are so many things we miss, when we're focused on "success". Sometimes we just need a little reminder. :)

  32. Lynda - Thanks for sharing this. I really needed to hear it. =D

  33. I will most definitely watch this video when I get the chance. Sounds like he has a great and inspiring story to tell. I totally agree that putting the important things off is not the way to go.

  34. Often it takes a disaster or crisis to learn what is really most important.
    Thans for this.

  35. Touching. Our experiences with our family and our love...that's all we take with us. The rest is just a way to pass time, no matter how much we might enjoy it. :) I try to remind myself of that when I'm messing with social media.

  36. What an inspiring story...and a good title:) Nonetheless, I think he's got a great perspective, and I firmly believe that it's important not to postpone the things that matter in life.

  37. You know, I was living in NYC when that plane went down. My hubby and I had a series of conversations about our focus in life while living there, and the truth is, we wouldn't change anything. Isn't that a nice feeling?
    Knowing you're living life to the fullest every moment of every day? (It tends to be exhausting though.)

  38. Great video! Care about what really matters and live each day to the fullest. Thanks for sharing.

  39. thats really awesome, thanks for sharing, i know that sounds really generic but its how i actually feel haha

  40. Mary, it would be good if more people came to the realisation that life is short and can change at any moment.

    Carrie, great minds!

    RaShelle, yay!

    Trisha, I hope you do get a chance to watch it.

    Anthony, so true

    Laila, yep, no matter how much we might enjoy something, it's the real conenctions we make with family and friends that make the difference.

    Mark, totally agree

    Crystal, that's a brilliant thing to be able to say. What a blessing.

    Maeve, it really resonated with me.

    Tony, hehe, totally understand.

  41. Oh my goodness, I can't stop crying. What a great video about what's important in life.
    Thanks for posting this.


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