Life is funny sometimes. You work and strive for something for so long that it becomes a part of who you are and you become identified with that thing, for better or for worse, and then all of a sudden it’s gone.
My race for California State Controller was my life for an entire year. As some would say, I put my life on hold to run for Controller. I don’t know how many times I crisscrossed this state. From touring the state with Mark Meuser (Secretary of State, Candidate) on the Elections Matter Bike Tour, to driving a 45-foot RV up and down the state for the Yes on 6 – Gas Tax Repeal Initiative, I saw some amazing places and met some amazing people.
Even though being the Republican candidate for Controller consumed my life for an entire year, I completely forgot that today is the day I would have been sworn in as California’s Controller if I had won. My friend’s trip to Sacramento today is what reminded me.
It’s so funny how something that consumes your life for so long can be so easily forgotten.
When I was asked to write a piece on my experience on my race for Controller, I was wondering what I would write. Would I write about what the CAGOP needs to do to become competitive? Would I speak on what we could have done differently? I could have written on a lot of different things, but I decided to write about my experience and what I’ve learned, and hopefully, pass along some words of wisdom to you.
To begin with, I have the title of being the biggest loser on election night. Unlike other candidates that lost their race, I lost two campaigns. I lost my race for Controller and I failed to pass Prop 6.
You see the thing is most people would be embarrassed to say they are a failure. I, on the other hand, am proud to be a failure because through failure and adversity I have become the man I am today.
Imagine everything always going your way? It sounds nice, right? But would you ever understand what humility is, and thus, would you be able to show love and compassion to others when they are hurting? Would you appreciate what you have, or would you only seek pleasure in attaining something new? Would you be the person you are today?
As they say, history is written by those who win, but we place too much emphasis on winning. I want to ask you a question: do you know who the State Controller was 30 years ago? Who was the Governor 60 years ago? Who was President of the United States 130 years ago? Can you name at least five of the Roman Emperors?
Most will not be able to answer all, and for others, even some of these questions. We had Emperors that ruled most of the world with absolute authority, yet today, only historians and scholars remember their names.
Those of us that work or are involved in politics sometimes put too much importance on what we do. Now, this is not to say that politics aren’t important. I fight for what I believe in because it is important, but it isn’t everything.
Life is more than just will I get that promotion, will we defeat our opponents, will we pass this bill, will we…
We want to be thought of and remembered for what we accomplish, and not by our failures. But as I have shown you, most people will never know anything about you or even know your name, even though you might have been the most powerful person in the world.
Just remember, life is an adventure, and we will have setbacks, failures, heartbreaks, and disappointments. Without these experiences, I would not be the man I am today. I will continue to fall short in so many aspects of my life. I will fail to do what is right, and I will regret a decision I will make. As I like to say, “I might not be the man I should be, but by the grace of God, I’m no longer the man I used to be.”
I appreciate the man I am today because of how far God has brought me from yesteryears. I appreciate but am not satisfied with who I am, because just like California’s High-Speed Rail, I’m permanently under construction. God isn’t done working on me yet.
We cannot change the past, what we can do is reflect on our decisions and failures and see how they shaped our lives and what positive experiences we can ascertain.
Today, just like yesterday, and just like tomorrow, I will hold the title of being the biggest loser in California politics in 2018, but today, just like yesterday, and just like tomorrow, I can say I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I matured, learned to trust in God even more, gained some wisdom, and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Even if I was being sworn in today the one thing I am certain of is this: 30 years from now very few people would remember my name, know who I am and that I was the Controller of California, but the thing I do know is that my friends will, because to them I wasn’t only a candidate, I am their friend and we will have the privilege of experiencing life together.
My parting words of wisdom to you are this: Trust God and do Life. Breathe in all it has to offer and be thankful for what you have and don’t dwell on what you could have had. Always be adventuring and drink up the experiences this life has to offer because in your failures you might gain more than in your victories.