Esther Andrews

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The Happy Hungarian Watchmaker

Copyright 2005 by Julian Kalmar.

All rights reserved.  

 Sitting Still


Can you imagine living happily no matter what happens? Thirty-eight years ago a great master craftsman began teaching me how to do this. Unbelievably, it took me 36 years to truly appreciate his enormous gift.  

In 2002, a back injury sentenced me to living in bed 22 hours a day. I lost my business, a 6-figure income, and the ability to move about freely. When a friend asked me how I could still be so happy, the value of the master’s lessons snapped into focus: It had never occurred to me to be unhappy!  

The master, an old-world Hungarian watchmaker, began my lessons when I was four. He granted me the privilege of sitting beside him as he repaired watches and clocks.  

My first happiness lesson was to sit quietly, without distracting him from his delicate repairs.  

Amazingly, I succeeded almost without trying, for as the master worked something magical happened. A great love and peace filled the workshop, and I fell into the deafening silence that surrounded him.  

As I focused on his work, my stillness on the outside was soon reflected by stillness on the inside. All sense of misfortune, stress, and unhappiness melted away.  

The master taught me that focusing on your tasks destroys negative emotions. Negativity thrives when you focus on what’s wrong. Focusing on your tasks suffocates the negatives by stilling your thoughts.  

Focusing also improves the quality of your work, brings satisfaction in a job well done, and eventually profound joy.

 Facing The Unknown  

Over the years, I’d seen the old Hungarian master craftsman fix just about every type of watch and clock imaginable. But I was always amazed at his uncanny ability to put the mechanisms back together.  

So one day I said to him, “You know, for years I've watched you repair watches and clocks. Carefully you'd take them apart, clean them, and finally put them back together. How do you know where all the pieces go?”  

Without hesitation, and with a wry smile, he said, "I don't always!"  

For a moment I was struck dumb, and then filled with roaring laughter. He was kidding, or so I thought.  

After we’d finished laughing, he said, "Whenever you do something you've never done before, don't panic. You can do it. Look at it very carefully. Make notes. Draw pictures. Take it apart slowly. Take your time. Carefully watch how things go together."  

Not knowing how to do something can threaten self-esteem, confidence, and credibility. The master’s technique converts these threats into opportunities.  

Admitting you don’t know (but that you’ll find out), demonstrates intelligence and credibility. You also won’t have to live up to a self-created illusion, so you’ll focus better on solving the problem.  

Using every available tool, including time, and other people’s know-how, you’ll work things out and learn a lot doing it.  

Unknowns will become a source of gratifying intellectual challenge. Your ego will shrink, and you’ll be proud of your new skills. You’ll develop genuine confidence and self-esteem.  

 Single-Pointed Focus

Watches and clocks contain many screws, gears, jewels and springs. In contrast to the complexity of these little machines, the way the old Hungarian watchmaker worked was profoundly simple.  

He fully focused on each part he touched as if it were the most sacred part in all the world. To him, in that moment, nothing else existed. He would pick up a part, place it carefully into position, and fasten it with care. There was no haste.  

Once the part was installed, there was an almost imperceptible pause while the master stopped to admire the perfection of the careful placement. Only then would he direct his attention to the next part, again devoting his entire being to it.  

His single-pointed focus on one tiny part after another, created a beautiful serenity in his workshop. This was nothing less than a communion: The spirit of the master and the spirit of each part became inextricably and forever intertwined. It was a cosmic dance.  

Most of us race frenetically from one place to another, trying to do three things at once, and rarely giving full attention to anything. We do not properly honor our tools, possessions, time, or other people. Our rushing keeps us in a constant state of tension.  

Achieving the master’s deep sense of peace and well being, requires doing only one thing at a time. By choosing to honor each thing, person, place, and time, we can live richly spiritual lives even during activities we once considered chores.

 Changing Viewpoints  

During his watch repairs, the master craftsman was exceptionally careful. However, once in a great while, a little part would jump out from between his tweezers and fly onto the floor.  

The irregularities in the wooden floor made superb camouflage for the little parts, so finding them sometimes took half an hour. Slowing our searches was the very real danger of destroying a part by stepping on it.  

As a youngster, I wasn’t allowed to move until the part was spotted. Later, when it was clear I could be careful, the master showed me a new way of searching.  

After visually scanning an area big enough for my body, the master had me lie down. Then, by sighting along the floor with one eye closed, the errant part became instantly visible! My new viewpoint made finding parts easy.  

So it is with life. Many of life’s difficulties result from poor viewpoints. We make things harder than they need to be—and prolong our suffering—because we don’t think of changing viewpoints.  

For example, does getting laid-off mean you’re worthless? Or are you happy to advance into a better career sooner? Is stubbing your toe angering? Or could it be pleasing to learn greater awareness to help you throughout life? Is your teenager uncooperative, or is this a chance to improve your people skills and learn to choose your fights?  

Each difficulty is a doorway to a happier life when used as a cue to finding a better viewpoint.

Now the master’s knowledge of how to live easily and happily is available globally. The methods can be learned by anyone, including children.


You can create happiness—at will—regardless of your circumstances. You can avoid the traps that almost everyone falls into that destroy lives. You can live a long happy life with this special knowledge.


Here’s how:

Julian Kalmar is part of a small think tank dedicated to spreading happiness throughout the world. More happiness teachings are available in his 4-CD audio collection, “Happiness: The Highest Gift.” (See

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To your success!

Esther Andrews 

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to accurately represent this information. We do not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or results of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed. Any claims of actual results and examples used are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.                         
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