[FOUNTAIN]Make next year the best of your life

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[FOUNTAIN]Make next year the best of your life

“Maybe the next piece,” Charlie Chaplin used to say at the height of his career whenever he was asked what he thought was his best film. He did not mean to undermine his works.
Instead, he wanted to leave room for improvement for the next film. Having directed so many masterpieces, he was still determined to make yet a better one.
The life of late Henri Cartier-Bresson, who passed away last August, had been filled with determination for improvement as well. Although he was already revered as a master photographer, he suddenly changed career fields into fine art. In order to challenge himself, he entirely ignored his own lifetime achievements.
His efforts paid off, and he has been praised not just as a photographer but also as an artist.
In a lifetime retrospective interview in 1999, he was asked whether there was anything remaining to be conquered. Without hesitation, he said, “Of course, it is death.”
A world-class molding engineer felt the same about his achievement.
When I met the Japanese master in his sixties in Tokyo, I asked what his best molding design was. He was reluctant at first and said, “Well, I need to make more moldings before I can answer that question.”
Having provided moldings for the likes of Sony and Ford, he was still not satisfied with his designs so far.
The best of the best share a special quality. They are always determined to improve and never lose the hope. They set high goals and rush towards them.
They might exhaust themselves completely but never complain about the pain.
In their pursuit for the best, they might pause but never stop. And then, they become the best of the best in their fields.
In the year shadowed by the economic slump and political strife, we all have felt that life is hard. However, this might be the time to renew our resolution to create masterpieces of our own.
Let’s hope to make next year the best year of our lives. We might not all be the masters, but their determination is worth following.
There is no need to worry now that our efforts may not pay off. Maybe, the best year of our lives is waiting for us the year after.

by Nahm Yoon-ho

The writer is head of the family affairs team at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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