101 Inspiring Happiness Quotes

by Henrik Edberg

The written word is truly an amazing thing.

With the help of it we can record out innermost thoughts and spread them if we like.

With the help of the written word we can look far, far back into time, through the decades, the centuries and, yes, even the millennias.

Today I would like to look back into the past and see what the wise people who have walked on this earth can tell us about happiness and how to uncover it. No matter if you live today or lived two thousand years ago.

This is 101 of the most inspiring, touching and helpful thoughts from the past on happiness.

  1. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
    Buddha
  2. “Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.”
    Unknown
  3. “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
    Albert Camus
  4. “If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’
    If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
    If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
    If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
    Chinese Proverb
  5. “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
    Ashley Montagu
  6. “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
  7. “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.”
    Dale Carnegie
  8. “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”
    Lucille Ball
  9. “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
    Winnie the Pooh
  10. “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
    Epictetus
  11. “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
    Frederick Keonig
  12. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
    Thich Nhat Hanh
  13. “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
    Eskimo Proverb
  14. “To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”
    Mary Stuart
  15. “There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.”
    Seneca
  16. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
    Robert A. Heinlein
  17. “Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”
    Dennis Waitley
  18. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
    Mahatma Gandhi
  19. “The only joy in the world is to begin.”
    Cesare Pavese
  20. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go”
    Oscar Wilde
  21. “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
    Marthe Troly-Curtin
  22. “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon”
    Winnie the Pooh
  23. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
    Herman Cain
  24. “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
    Confucius
  25. “There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”
    Anthony de Mello
  26. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
    Dalai Lama
  27. “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 that has been opened for us.”
    Helen Keller
  28. “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
    Aristotle
  29. “It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.”
    Seneca
  30. “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”
    Marcel Pagnol
  31. “If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling in the world.”
    Joseph Addison
  32. “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
    George Burns
  33. “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
  34. “The pleasure which we most rarely experience gives us greatest delight.”
    Epictetus
  35. “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
    L.M. Montgomery
  36. “Happiness is acceptance.”
    Unknown
  37. “The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”
    James M. Barrie
  38. “We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.”
    Dalai Lama
  39. “Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.”
    Dr. Robert Anthony
  40. “The unhappy derive comfort from the misfortunes of others.”
    Aesop
  41. “For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.”
    Seneca
  42. “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
    Albert Einstein
  43. “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
    Bertrand Russell
  44. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
    Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  45. “Happiness is a myth we seek,
    If manifested surely irks;
    Like river speeding to the plain,
    On its arrival slows and murks.
    For man is happy only in
    His aspiration to the heights;
    When he attains his goal, he cools
    And longs for other distant flights.”
    Kahlil Gibran
  46. “Happiness is a state of activity.”
    Aristotle
  47. “This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
    Douglas Adams
  48. “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt
  49. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
    Confucius
  50. “The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
    Arthur Schopenhauer
  51. “Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other – it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.”
    Charles Caleb Colton
  52. “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
    Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
  53. “Happy he who learns to bear what he cannot change.”
    Friedrich Schiller
  54. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
    Winston Churchill
  55. “I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”
    Douglas Adams
  56. “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
    Andy Rooney
  57. “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
    James Oppenheim
  58. “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”
    Benjamin Disraeli
  59. “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
    Martha Washington
  60. “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
    Albert Schweitzer
  61. “Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.”
    Heraclitus
  62. “Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.”
    Herman Hesse
  63. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
    Aesop
  64. “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  65. “Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.”
    Rose Lane
  66. “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
  67. “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
    Groucho Marx
  68. “Just because it didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.”
    Unknown
  69. “Your work is discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
    Buddha
  70. “That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
    Henry David Thoreau
  71. “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”
    Maxim Gorky
  72. “A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
    Leo Tolstoy
  73. “It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  74. “If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.”
    Epicurus
  75. “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
    William Feather
  76. “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”
    John Henry Jowett
  77. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt
  78. “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”
    Confucius
  79. “If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.”
    Proverb
  80. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature…. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
    Helen Keller
  81. “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
  82. “Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.”
    Buddha
  83. “The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.”
    Andre Maurois
  84. “The grass is always greener where you water it.”
    Unknown
  85. “Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.”
    Marquis de Condorcet
  86. “On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.”
    Eckhart Tolle
  87. “The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life.”
    Brian Tracy
  88. “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
    Marcel Proust
  89. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
    George Bernard Shaw
  90. “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.”
    Leo Buscaglia
  91. “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”
    William Arthur Ward
  92. “Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”
    Mary Lou Retton
  93. “I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives.”
    Dalai Lama
  94. “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
    Joseph Campbell
  95. “Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation.”
    Leo Tolstoy
  96. “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
    Abraham Lincoln
  97. “Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
    Unknown
  98. “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
  99. “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”
    Morris West
  100. “Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.”
    Milton Erickson
  101. “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

What is your favorite quote on happiness? Feel free to share the best one(s) you have found in this article or in your life in the comments section below.

Image by D. Sharon Pruitt (license).



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{ 63 comments }

steve werner September 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I never knew Winnie The Pooh was so wise.

Thanks for making my morning

sw

Shekhar September 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Happiness does not come with achieving something you don’t have but with appreciating what you already have.. Couldn’t have agreed more

jose silva September 10, 2013 at 10:38 am

I reall love #43: “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” :)

Charleswoodway September 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I found this a really an uplifting list. I am going to print them out and stick them round my house.

Gayle Levy September 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Love this post! :)

Julie Hembrough September 27, 2013 at 5:10 am

The meaningful quote to me was: “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

Social Natural October 4, 2013 at 12:22 am

Next…you should do a list of 101 Inspiring Movie Quotes. ;)

jeffmoore October 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm

All are just amazing …and thanks for sharing 101 list…

Sebastian October 15, 2013 at 3:40 am

Great collection. I’m saving these. Thank you!

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