In Search of Happiness: Happiness Quotes by Great Men & Women
- Happiness and Action.
- Happiness and Experiences.
- Happiness and Expectations.
- Happiness and success.
- Happiness and Unhappiness.
- Happiness and attitude.
- Happiness and Hope.
- Happiness and contentment.
The advancement of technology in this information age may have brought a ton of knowledge to everyday people, but seem to have ushered an era of widespread depression and emotional aloofness, prompting many people to ask: what exactly is happiness and why does it never last?
A quick search on Google will make it evident that many philosophers – since men could write and speak a common language – have attempted to define what happiness means for them. While some kept their definitions simple, others tended to be a little more extravagant, but the one thing most agree on is that happiness originates from the mind.
On the one hand, is knowing the birthplace of happiness – the mind – on the other hand, is knowing how to train the mind to be happy regularly. As any adult would’ve noticed by now, that isn’t always a straightforward process, as life can be testy at times, and pain is simply unavoidable.
The famous Viking ruler Ragnar Lothbrok, responded to one of his son’s complaints that he wasn’t happy by saying, “but unhappiness is more common than happiness, who told you you should be happy?” – in the TV series Vikings. This is a quote that goes a long way to describe man’s familiarity with pain in our adult years.
In my personal experience, however, I’ve found that understanding the nature of happiness is a big step towards experiencing it in your life. Here are some excellent quotes from great men and women to help you understand the nature of happiness better:
- “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs–even though checkered by failure–than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” – Andy Rooney
- “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie
- “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller
- “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
- “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happywould lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” – Carl Jung
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
- “When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight” – Kahlil Gibran
- “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer
- “Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a rest, the other one tends to take up the slack.” – Hazelmarie Elliott
- “Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.” – Milton Erickson
- “Think of what you have rather than of what you lack. Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them.” – Marcus Aurelius
- “Reflect upon you present blessings, of which every man has many–not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens
- “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ― Dale Carnegie
- “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” – Martha Washington
For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time.
- “If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” – Andy Rooney
- “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” — Helen Keller
- “You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “We can’t control the world. We can only (barely) control our own reactions to it. Happiness is largely a choice, not a right or entitlement.” – David C. Hill
- “ The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis
- “Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” – Mary Lou Retton
- “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy” – Leo Buscaglia
- “Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” – Stacey Charter
- “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” — Mahatma Gandhi
- “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action” – Benjamin Disraeli
- “A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity” — Thomas Jefferson
- “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do” – Freya Stark
- “Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian” – Shari R. Barr
- “A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness” – Bernard de Fontenelle
- “View your life from your funeral, looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? What would you have wanted to accomplish but didn’t? What were the happy moments? What were the sad? What would you do again, and what you wouldn’t?” – Victor Frankl
- “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
- “The need for forgiveness is an illusion. There is nothing to forgive.” – Rachel England
- “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius
- “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
- “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” – Ayn Rand
- “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis
- “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus
- “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama
- “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” – Bertrand Russell
- “What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.” – Leo Buscaglia
- “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
- “Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” – Ovid
- “Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
- “Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.” – Henry Van Dyke
- “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” – David Allen
- “Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.”– Chinese Proverb
- “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
- “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese
- “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” – Dale Carnegie
- “There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is notlearning from experience.” – Archibald McLeish
- “We avoid the things that we’re afraid of because we think there will be dire consequences if we confront them. But the truly dire consequences in our lives come from avoiding things that we need to learn about or discover.” – Shakti Gawain
It is evident from the quotes above that our happiness is more dependent on the things we do, the thoughts we think, and the way we choose to react to what happens to us, rather than the circumstances we find ourselves.