Little did I know at age 16, as I was picking grapes in Lodi to put myself through school, that I would one day be mayor of this extraordinary city. Through the years, I have learned four important life lessons.
Lesson 1: In order to have a dream come true, you must have a dream. There is no freeway to the future, only uncertain terrain; therefore, you will have to rely on the advice of those who love you, your value system and a dream. Explore, discover, investigate and embrace a passion you can call your own.
Lesson 2: Just because you lose, doesn’t mean that you are not a winner. If you avoid failure at all costs, you will never venture anything that would result in real success.
Lesson 3: Winning is not everything. Competition is stimulating and winning is good, but doing your level best and preserving hour honor is more important. I have learned from my failures. It has made me stronger, less fearful, more resilient, wiser in the ways of life and kinder, more sympathetic to those who run beside me. Failure can devastate you or it can be a stepping stone to success.
Lesson 4: Don’t give up. Persevere, Persevere, Persevere ... Victory. Do the work that is next to you and do it well, and when failure is encountered, do it better. In the end, you will gain the victory and leave a lasting impact on everyone around you.
To the graduates of 2013, look for opportunities to change the status quo. Dream big and enlist others in your dream of exciting future possibilities, create standards of excellence and set examples for others to follow. Seek even with busy schedules areas where you can contribute to the needs of those around you. Learn to love learning no matter how it arrives. Persevere, persevere, persevere even more. Set your standards high and hold on to your values and beliefs.
I congratulate you and wish you success in all your endeavors. Keep your vision alive and reach for the extraordinary.
Dr. Alan Nakanishi is the mayor of Lodi and an opthamalogist.