The beginning of the new year is a time when people think about their lives, make plans, and decide which things they will pay more or less attention to. Ric Elias’s heartfelt talk is very helpful when it comes to prioritising things in life.



  • route – a way or course taken in getting from a starting point to a destination
  • mend (your) fences – to try to become friendly again with someone after an argument
  • postpone – cause or arrange for (something) to take place at a time later than that first scheduled
  • reflect on/upon (something) – think deeply or carefully about
  • frame (something) in (something) – to express something in a particular way
  • connect the dots – to understand the relationship between different ideas or experiences


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What was unique about Ric’s seat on the plane?
  • What did the flight attendant tell Ric?
  • What three things happened after Ric’s conversation with the flight attendant?
  • What was the first thing Ric learnt about himself?
  • What was the second thing Ric learnt about himself?
  • What was the third thing Ric learnt about himself?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

Imagine a big explosion ________ you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine ________ engine going clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat ________ day. I was sitting in 1D. I was ________ only one who could talk to the flight attendants. So I looked at them right away, and they said, “No problem. We probably hit some birds.” The pilot ________ already turned the plane around, and we weren’t that far. You could see Manhattan. Two minutes later, three things happened ________ the same time. The pilot lines up the plane with ________ Hudson River. That’s usually not the route. (Laughter) He turns off ________ engines. Now imagine being in ________ plane with no sound. And then he says three words — the most unemotional three words I ________ ever heard. He says, “Brace ________ impact.” I didn’t have to talk to the flight attendant anymore. (Laughter) I could ________ in her eyes, it was terror. Life was over.


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