Culture

TED Weekends asks: What if your life were to end today …

On January 17, 2009, at 3:24pm, Flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport as normal. Five minutes later, it had crash-landed in the Hudson River. While the heroic landing of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger has become the stuff of aviation legend, during the white-knuckle landing his passengers had no idea whether they would survive or die on impact. Ric Elias was sitting in the first row of the plane, and at TED2011 he shared for the first time the thoughts that went through his mind in those minutes — both the terrifying and mundane — and how the event changed his life forever.

The latest TED Weekends feature on the Huffington Post examines the lessons learned in near-death experiences. Below, some of the TED Weekends essays on this theme.

June Cohen: What we can learn from near-death experiences

TED’s own June Cohen shares a playlist of talks that explore big questions that, perhaps, we can only face when up against a non-negotiable deadline:

“Ric’s TED Talk has proven so compelling, because he answers the question so many of us have: When my life draws to a close, will I look back with regret? Or satisfaction? What will I wish I had done? What will matter most? It’s a gift, in some ways, to come so close to death, because it teaches us something essential about how to live. And this is a theme that many TED speakers have explored…”

Browse her playlist >>

Ben Thomas: Be proud to be wrong

Ben Thomas explores one memorable sentence in Ric’s talk. Post-crash, Ric tells us, “I haven’t had a fight with my wife in over two years, [because] I’m no longer trying to be right.” Ben asks us, what would we do if we let go of being right all the time?

“But isn’t learning an actual truth more important than defending an ego? Can’t it be just as thrilling to learn we’ve been wrong — to become, as Jonathan Swift once said, ‘wiser today than yesterday?'”

Read Ben’s essay >>

A great comment on Ben’s piece:

“To answer the question, I want to be wiser. That’s why, I want to thank you for that great article which reminds us [of] that simple idea, we should not be scared of being wrong! But of course, we need to learn from the mistakes. — Brygida Biedro”