February 6, 2023

Mental & Emotional Health

#241 ‒ Living intentionally, valuing time, prioritizing relationships, and more keys to a rich life | Ric Elias (Part 2)

The day you stop growing is the day that you age.” —Ric Elias

Read Time 38 minutes

Ric Elias, the founder of Red Ventures and previous guest on The Drive, returns to discuss his evolving insights on time, relationships, parenting, and how to make the most of the gift of life. In this episode, he reflects on the changes he’s made since his near-death experience during the crash landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009. Ric reveals many keys to living a rich life, such as aiming for continuous growth, approaching life with true intentionality, and valuing our time in accordance with that. He talks about relationships as the core of a rich life and provides insights on parenting and how we should think about our relationship with our kids as they grow older. Finally, Ric discusses the importance of staying true to yourself, the value in struggle, and finding meaning in helping others.


We discuss:

  • Reflecting on the tumultuous last few years and how his experience on Flight 1549 helped him [2:30];
  • Parenting: a game of tug of war that you must ultimately lose [5:00];
  • Importance of friendship and Ric’s motivation for his recent “Friends summit” [8:00];
  • The impact of looking forward and focusing on growth on finishing life well [13:00];
  • How our relationships with our children evolve as they grow, and a new perspective on purpose [21:15]; 
  • Living with complete intention for a rich life, valuing your time, and other life lessons inspired by Ric’s near-death experience on Flight 1549 [31:15];
  • How society’s relationship with work has changed, the pros and cons of remote and hybrid working environments, and an update on his company “Red Ventures” [37:45];
  • Ric’s dedication to philanthropy [44:45];
  • The Golden Door Scholars program aiming to help undocumented students with education and a future career [50:30];
  • Ric’s journey in health and longevity [59:15]
  • Letting go of guilt and loving yourself [1:02:30];
  • The relationship between happiness and wealth [1:06:45];
  • Playing the “infinite game,” staying true to oneself, and ignoring the negative [1:09:15]; 
  • Speculating on the meaning of success, the drivers of greatness, and the value of struggle [1:16:00]; and
  • More.


Reflecting on the tumultuous last few years and how his experience on Flight 1549 helped him [2:30]

What have been the highs and lows for you over the last three years? 

  • Ric remembers their conversation about leadership and how do leaders show up in a time of crisis
  • Then 60-90 days later COVID hits and a lot changed
  • The last three years have been the most tumultuous three years, no matter where you are in the world, and then you layer that with lots and lots of changes
  • Ric’s kids have gone to college
  • In this time his father-in law and aunt (who was like a second mom to him) passed away
  • His business went aggressively into offense to take advantage of opportunities that came about when the market changed
    • They bought some very meaningful businesses 
    • Then everything further imploded 
    • Now we’re living in the middle of a war, in the middle of uncertainty in all of that

The world always keeps changing and surprising us. We tend to project today’s reality into the future, but it’s always changing.” —Ric Elias

How much of your even keel (your perspective) around all of these events do you attribute to what happened in January of 2009?  (referring to Flight 1549)

  • A lot, he doesn’t have a lot of lows or high highs
  • The understanding that “this too shall pass” and doing what you can in the moment when you can is really all you can do. And if you don’t tie yourself up to the outcome as much and you’re just really trying to stay in the process, I’m able to navigate this in great part because of that experience.” 


Parenting: a game of tug of war that you must ultimately lose [5:00]

How do you think about that metaphorical tug of war with your kids? 

  • Their discussion of this is something that stuck with Peter from their previous conversation on the podcast
    • Ric compared raising children to playing a game of tug of war that you eventually lose
    • You can’t lose it immediately, but by the time they’re off to college, they’ve pulled you over the line (metaphorically)
  • Rics kids are off to college but Peter is in the middle of that game

How Ric’s thinking on parenting has evolved in the last few years 

{end of show notes preview}

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Ric Elias

Ric Elias was given the gift of a miracle: to face near-certain death, and then to come back and live differently.

A native of Puerto Rico, Elias attended Boston College and Harvard Business School before starting his career as part of GE’s Financial Management program. He cofounded Red Ventures in 2000, just months before the dot-com bubble burst. The company weathered the storm; by 2007 it was ranked fourth on the Inc. 500 list, and in 2015 the company was valued at more than $1 billion. Elias has cultivated an award-winning company culture, ranking as a “Best Place to Work” in Charlotte, North Carolina, for ten years in a row.

Elias’s leadership style and personal life are deeply influenced by his experience as a survivor of Flight 1549, also known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He is devoted to using his platform to “leave the woodpile higher than he found it” — spinning out multiple nonprofits from Red Ventures over the years, all of which are aimed at creating educational opportunity and economic mobility for under-served groups. In 2018, Elias launched Forward787, a social enterprise committed to raising and deploying $100 million to build businesses in Puerto Rico that compete with the world’s top companies. In 2019, he launched a podcast, 3 Things with Ric Elias, as a continuation of the learning journey he shared on the TED stage. [TED]

Twitter: @RicElias

Instagram:  @_ricelias

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  1. Great interview as always. I am an airman and I take issue with the term “crash.” That was NOT a crash. It was an emergency off-field landing, performed particularly well. Let’s give credit (and accuracy) where it is due. 😀

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