Imagine having the chance to look death in the face, and then within a matter of minutes, be given the good fortune to walk away with a life changing experience.

This story of Ric Elias, the passenger in seat 1D on US Airways flight 1549, on January 15, 2009, may just give you some insights to answer that!

You may remember that this was the famous flight that lost both its engines from bird strikes just seconds after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Its skillful pilot, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger (who, because of this flight and its eventually successful, fatality-free crash landing, was awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots3) flew the plane like a glider and brought it down silently in the Hudson River, right beside the ferry terminals.

Within four minutes, boats were on the scene to pluck the passengers out of the icy water within, and the flight went down in American history as “the Miracle on the Hudson3.”

From time to time on Ever Widening Circles, we share articles that beg the question: “can we truly learn from the experiences of others?

This article is one of our user favorites for good reason:
many find it life changing.

All 155 people on the airplane that day survived to live life with new insight. Mr. Elias’s story is both gripping and positive, and in his discussion on the TED stage he explains that, if we listen to his wisdom, we don’t have to personally survive such a harrowing experience to take away three simple messages:

Via: TED  1

Why Elias’ experience was life changing…

In case you need a little refresher course on that remarkable landing and outcome, here’s a flight simulation with the actual cockpit recording embedded into the flight pattern shown in the animation. It’s simply unbelievable…

So we’re left with one more question:

Can we take Ric Elias’ advice, learn from it and make it life changing without having to have a narrow-miss of our own?

Take some time to ponder this. It’s a positive challenge we’ll leave you with in these days of so much negativity in the media.

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

If you’d like to find more insightful, positive articles like this…

Thankfully, you’ve found one of the most unique places on the web here at Ever Widening Circles!

We are the only ad-free, no-agenda place that we know of, where smart people can find one article a day to prove this is still an amazing world.

Here’s just a tiny sample of the fact checked, hopeful articles we bring to our growing global community from 190 counties each day:

Collage no text EDU ENRICHMENT
We are not new-age, bunny-huggers, religious zealots, or people with a political agenda. We just got sick of the relentless negativity of the 24-hour news cycle one day, and couldn’t find any credible place to learn about some of the great things happening in the world… so we created it!

We never dreamed in 10 months we would have 180,000 Facebook fans from every corner of the world, who were also searching for solid insights with a touch of wonder and meaning.

I’m doctor Lynda Ulrich of St. Albans,Vermont, and my business partner in this project is my daughter Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, a recent Harvard graduate, artist, athlete, and all-around great gal.

If you’d like to start a little journey with us, you’ll find more than 400 articles about everything under the sun here! Just scroll down to the bottom of this page to find more related articles, or check out our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe (it’s free!) below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!


  1. “3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed | Ric Elias.” YouTube. TED, 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Aug. 2017. <>.
  2. “Hudson River Plane Landing (US Airways 1549) Animation with Audio.”YouTube. Trial Graphics and 3D Legal Animations, 6 Feb. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.