Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.

This new found appreciation for life Elias speaks of, doesn’t have to come from living through a traumatic, life threatening experience. It can be acquired through knowledge. Knowledge of your surroundings. knowledge of the truth. The truth is every second of every day is a miracle. Not in a religious sense. In the sense that, there are an unfathomable amount of factors that all came together to create this moment in all it’s beauty and magnificence. Sadly, chances are, it will be lost on most of us. The reason is culture.

Culture is holding a lens over everyones eyes. Culture bombards us with useless information. It confuses us into worrying and thinking life is something that it’s not. Culture wants us to forget we’re all organisms floating on a rock in the middle of nowhere. Culture gives us a backwards set of priorities. We all know deep down whats really important. The continuation of our species in harmony with earth (which, for now is our only home). Why is everyone so confused? Why do people think life is the hardest thing to navigate? Culture.

Once you understand that culture has led us astray, it is important to learn is that everyone only gets one go at this. Life can’t be wasted being upset over minute details. The other thing is that no one knows what they’re doing. No one is back for their second term of life. No one starts off with a map from their past life. The whole human race is comprised of first timers (and only timers, as far as we know). Take advantage of your one and only chance at life.

Focus and work for the life you want, not the life you have. You’re not stuck. Potential is limitless.

We must evolve and face humanities problems before time runs out. This is going to take a Huge shift in culture. What culture finds important needs to be sustainability. That needs to be the new meme.