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The Happiest Man I Know

February 13, 2014

(left, John with his dog Ruff)    John and Ruff.JPG

John is a friend of mine.
He's a handyman.
He installed my dishwasher.
He's single because he's set in his ways.
But he's the happiest man I know.
He plays hockey four nights a week
and is always smiling.
Here John shares some of his secrets.

(Editor's Note: Although I am very sympathetic, these beliefs are uniquely John's, not mine. I'd like to hear about the happy people you know or your secret to happiness. )

" I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." - Henry David Thoreau

"How to Stay Happy in a Mad World"

by John Bilyk 

Thankfully, life is largely a mind game. We live in our heads. And because of this, we can create our own reality.

Life literally is what we make it. I tell myself I'm a super nice billionaire that just happens to like the simple things in life. I walk through the park and tell myself that I own it. I have the gardeners cut the grass, and I even had a trail built just for me.

I'm such a nice guy though that I share my land freely with everybody. As a thank you, they wanted to build a statue of me but I told them no.  How would life be different if it were true?
The power to this lies in non materialism. Saying no to things. Being content with what you have. Living a simple life. Not wanting the fancy car or phone. Not wanting the trip to Hawaii. Not wanting fame, fortune or even love. Not wanting. Just accept things for the way they are. Most things are over rated anyways. 

Realize life outside your head is largely outside of your control. Other people decide your circumstances. If you get hired, fired, promoted, demoted, arrested or let go, it all depends on someone else. Life blesses some of us and not others. The only thing you can do is be the best person you can be, and trust that God is bringing you on a certain path for a reason.

Let love be your guiding principle. If you call yourself a nice person, act like one. Do something to improve the lives of those around you. Kiss your loved ones. Shovel your neighbor's driveway. Give away baking. Whatever your skill is, try to share it. Don't let money drive your actions. Be the opposite of bankers.
april_francis.jpg(Left, St Francis, patron saint of animals)

Improving the lives of others isn't limited to humans. Be kind to animals, it won't cost you anything and it will make you feel great. Patting the dog is good for both you and the dog. Even if you don't have pets, feeding birds can give you a feeling of joy.

Have a strong faith in God, and live like God is watching you. Your actions are important, even if no one seems to notice. It matters to God what you do. And it matters to us what we do too, whether we admit it or not. Live an immoral life, and you won't feel good about yourself.
Listen to what your conscience, heart and gut have to say. God talks to us through feelings. The more in tune you are with your soul, the more God can direct you in life. When your actions match your thoughts, then there is congruency in your life, and congruency leads to less stress and better health.
Be grateful for what you have. Everyday. Value your free time, and develop a life outside of work. If you knew you were going to be imprisoned, or a natural disaster was going to wipe you out, how would you make the most of your time you had left? Live like that's the case. Value your moments with loved ones. Value all moments you're not in extreme pain.

Be conscious of what's around you.The more we focus on ourselves, the more we are prone to be depressed. You can't be grateful if you don't notice things. Admire the beauty and appreciate the kindness in the world.

Look for, and accept, the truth. Not only will it help you not focus on yourself, but, it can help you make sense of the world. The rock of truth is something stable one can cling to in uncertain times. 

And lastly, be your own best friend. Practice self discipline. Don't watch TV. Don't smoke. Don't have any habits that are destructive. Instead strive to improve yourself. Eat healthy, take naps, exercise, and don't use negative self talk.

Be kind to others and yourself. Give yourself credit for getting yourself this far. After all, we are just mere humans.


noname.jpg(left, happiness is contagious)

First Comment from Derrick:

Henry, John's  article this morning struck a chord with a family in the deepest French countryside.  Mr. Bilyk has got the right idea; strangely enough I share some of his tricks like telling everyone that a field of horses opposite our house belongs to us.  What difference does it make.  We get great joy from enjoying them run and frolic right outside our kitchen window.

The neighbour is responsible for feeding them but he can't even see them from his house; that privilege is outs!

Enclosed is a photo of my 21 year-old daughter I just took five minutes ago.  (This is no fantasy though, and she is the happiest girl I know!)

Comments for "The Happiest Man I Know "

David said (February 14, 2014):

Henry as always you have one of the greatest web sites on the internet. I always read your articles; they're the best.
I did get a special message from the story titled " Happiest Man I Know. "

I too am a single white male who lives alone at a upscale gated community in Southeast , South Carolina. I am 68 years old with no wife or children, and no I am not gay, My life is full of happy thoughts and a very healthful life style. I love my home and my environment.

I always seek the positive life style and a positive consciousness to keep me healthy. Our community is surrounded by natural woods and beautiful trees. No big shopping centers or fast food stores. I pump iron in the community gym and swim in the community heated pool. Many do not believe me when I tell them my age. I could pass for being in my 50's. All this healthy life style is because I
do not have a wife or children to drive me crazy. Thanks again for your web site.

Adrian said (February 14, 2014):

People [below] are very quick to denigrate the article with the label "New Age" or because it does not reference there own personal revelation.

New Age is akin to belief in magic and fantasy. Absolute conviction in one's personal revelation (drawn from this book or that) is bigotry
and dumb tribalism.

Examining the article without dismissing it off the cuff, one finds John's advice is solid and contains the essence of the message all well
known prophets.

Look no further than John's article for happiness. Bravo to him.

Ralph said (February 14, 2014):

Nice article, also the part about animals. Life IS what you make of it. And it's all about what you ask for. Just yesterday I was reading a couple of verses about what the bible has to say about materialism;

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. - Matthew 6:33

In the end, God IS our ultimate friend. He is our moral anchor, he is morally perfect. I think the purpose of (this) life is to come to know our creator and build a relationship with him. To me, everything else seems trivial.

Dick Powell said (February 14, 2014):

If Mr. Bilyk is a billionaire, he likely didn't get it without hurting many people.
This article is a way to forgive himself and spout platitudes about how others should live. It's basically 'New Age' group think for the masses. Fantasyland.

I don't buy it. Forces outside ourselves always determine how we think.

Mr. Bilyk may have become a frustrated philosopher and needs a forum, namely, your website.

P said (February 14, 2014):

Enjoyed the article but would like to make a point; God does not communicate through solely our emotional state, because we all know how erratic that would be. Rather, our emotions must be subject to unwavering truth. I love this, because it demonstrates Him as Father, whom being a little more subjective to my own fluctuative emotional state, need to become more stable in knowing Him in this way.

Testifying that the Word has the power to transform, and while happiness can be fleeting, deep joy hangs around.

Lindsay said (February 13, 2014):

I really enjoyed today's article about happiness and how achieving it is a frame of mind. Happiness and joy are so important in today's world with depression so rampant and many people on psych meds.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at