Today we’re sharing an interview with Jacob Schick, a retired marine. His inspiring story is one of courage, perseverance and patience. September 20, 2014 will mark 10 years since his “Alive Day,” and we are honored to share his story with you. Jake’s and Travis’s stories overlap a bit, as The Travis the Movie team met Jake in conjunction with a film screening in Dallas by the Center for Brain Health, and they also share the same personal trainer, David Vobora. Please welcome Jake and share his #nevergiveupneverquit story!
Jake’s Background I wanted to be in the Marine Corps since I was eight or nine years old. My grandfather served in WWII and my uncle served in Vietnam, so joining the service was always my ambition. I enlisted my senior year of high school, and my recruitment officer showed up at my graduation–that’s how I told my parents I was going to be a Marine.
The Defining Moment On September 20, 2004, the Humvee I was driving hit a triple stack tank mine that was pressure plate ignited. It detonated directly beneath me, throwing me 30 feet into the air, and I landed on my head.
I was in the hospital for a year and a half, both at Bethesda National Naval Hospital and at Brook Army Medical Center. I’ve undergone 46 operations and 23 blood transfusions and endured countless hours of rehabilitation. I lost parts of my hand, arm and leg, but those weren’t the ‘worst’ of my injuries.
I was labeled with two of the diagnoses most service members dread: traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. As I like to say, they are the gift that keeps on giving, because the mental pain I experienced was ten times worse than the physical pain.
Principles: If you live your life according to the principles that you truly believe in, you will find that it’s much easier to love yourself. Chaos tends to rapidly find those that stray away from their principles. Once you’ve learned how to quickly get back on the path when you’ve gotten out of your lane, it’s much more conducive to your overall happiness.
Passion: Everything you do, you should do with passion. If you’re not passionate about something, it’s not worth your time. We all too often waste time on mundane things that are in no way, shape, or form relevant to who we truly are; this is a recipe for disaster. Living with passion gives us purpose.
Patience: This one is the most difficult. We have become a society obsessed with instant gratification. We are, by far, the most spoiled group of people on this planet. Patience is something that we seldom put into practice. That is the trick, we must consistently practice patience, because when we want instant gratification, we lose out on the abundance of joy that life provides.
What has this experience taught you about overcoming obstacles? One thing that I’ve learned is that controversy and obstacles can be the most influential teachers to us all. Every time I’ve experienced controversy, I’ve learned from it. As a result, I’ve got character. This is a saying that I came up with a while back, ‘From controversy, comes character. Which way you go with that character, well, that’s up to you.’
Through all of my trials and tribulations, through all of my pain and suffering, I’ve learned this; life is, without question, worth living. So live it according to your principles with overwhelming passion, and always remember, practicing patience will save you from yourself.
My passion lies in helping my fellow warriors regain their drive and determination and enhance their cognitive performance in my role as a Warrior Training Specialist at the Center for BrainHealth and Brain Performance Institute.
Do you have any words of encouragement to someone that is facing adversity? It’s okay to fall as long as you fall forward because at least that way you are still moving in the right direction.