The Germanwings crash over the Alps–which now seems to be all but confirmed as suicide–is one of the most disturbing air incidents yet. We’ve all heard about terror attacks, hijackings, malfunctioning aircraft and planes even downed by missiles. But this?

The airplane was in stellar shape. There was no terror organization involved, aiming to sow fear in people’s heart. No one could have counted on one very unfortunate individual who wanted to end his life this way.

Still, why take so many down with him?

We might never know the answer, and whatever we do discover will never comfort the grieving families of all those victims.

The question did, however, bring other thoughts to mind.

You might have heard the famous question: Why do people do so much research before going into surgery—comparing doctors, hospitals, ratings and success rates—yet they board a plane without ever checking on the pilot?

The answer is simple.

The surgeon operates only on you, but he himself can stay disconnected; there’s no inherent risk for him. But the pilot is not only flying your plane. He’s flying his plane, too, and if something happens to you, it will happen to him. So you trust him to do all he can to arrive safely, knowing his end goal matches that of the passengers.

This pilot, however, broke that trust. And so he crashed together with 150 people.

As with everything in life, there is a lesson in this. Whether we recognize it or not, we are all pilots. We all have circles of influence, people who are directly affected by us.

And when we crash, they crash right along with us. If we are negative, if we are not happy, if we are not fulfilling the mission G‑d had given us, then they suffer as well.

So if we are going through a difficult time, inspirationally or emotionally, we have a responsibility to do all we can to get ourselves out of it—not only for our own sake, but for the sake of those who rely on us.

One more thing (which is actually the thing): When we fly, they fly with us. When we soar, they are uplifted. When we become better, happier, more divine people, they are right there, impacted by us and all we do.

There are real choices to be made in life, all the time, easy and difficult. Which ones will you make?