Audrey Hepburn’s Top 3 Tips for a Happy Life

Audrey Hepburn“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”

Back in the old days, when movies were shot in black and white – and later on too – Audrey Hepburn was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Not only did she win an Oscar for “Roman Holiday”, she was also an ambassador for UNICEF and she's a timeless fashion icon.

This week I'd like to share three of my favorite tips from Hepburn for living a happy life.

1. Your outside is a reflection of the inner you.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

I think this is a wonderful quote and in my experience a very true one.

How other people see you aren’t just about cheekbones and a good sense of style. People view people through filters in their minds.

  • A kind person may seem more handsome when you get to know him.
  • A handsome person may suddenly not seem that attractive as you are confronted with her negative attitude.

And this goes for pretty much any meeting or relationship you have with someone.

What you feel and think has a big impact not only on you. It's also spread to the people around you.

Emotions are contagious. And people form opinions about others oftentimes in subtle and almost unconscious ways. Now, this may sound a bit silly or like it's not of that great importance (I certainly used to think that way at least).

But try this for example:

  • Assume rapport just before a meeting.
  • Focus on the good and positive things you can find and appreciate in the person you are meeting.

You'll find that overall they respond very differently than if you are negative and have a distant attitude towards them. It’s sometimes almost like speaking to two different people.

Because people tend to mirror and reflect – the gestures, mood and attitude – and adapt to each other very often in interactions.

Of course, it’s not always easy to look for the good in others, speak only kind words or to not put up walls in your mind between you and others. Sometimes you just have bad days.

But keep Hepburn's thought in mind and make use of it when you can.

Because whatever that is inside of you is always shining out and through in one way or another.

2. Don’t worry about what others may think of you.

“I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people's minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.”

One of the biggest parts of doing what you really want is to stop caring so much about what other people think of you.

A lot of the actions you take – or do not take – may be because you need approval from other people. When we are young we get grades in school that tells us that we are “good”. This makes it very easy to create a life where you always go looking for the world to give you the next hit of approval. It may be from your family, boss, friends, co-workers and so on.

But this need creates neediness. And the stronger the need the stronger the neediness. And so other people will sense this. And approval may be withheld or used to manipulate you. Or they may just not like your neediness.

The people on the other hand that does not care that much about getting approval often do more of what they want deep inside. They may be considered courageous for instance. So the way they live their lives will gain appreciation and approval from the people around them.

Action-tip: But how do you stop caring so much about what people may think?

The best thing I have found for that is simply to realize that they honestly don't care that much about what you do or say. They are focused on their own challenges, their partners, kids and jobs and what you and others may think of them.

3. Finally getting something may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

“Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you're exactly the same.”

Often we wish for something. A new job or promotion, a new relationship or perhaps a new pair of shoes. And you think: “if I only get this thing, then I’m home, then I’ll feel happy and good all around”.

And then you get it. And it’s awesome. But often for just a while. And then you may feel like maybe something went a bit wrong. Like it didn’t fulfill you or complete you like you thought it would.


  • You get used to it. After while when you get used to something, when it becomes normal, then the ego tends to want more once again.
  • You are still the same. You can’t enjoy something for what it is because even though your environment changes, you are still the same. With the same self-imposed barriers for your own success and happiness and maybe self-sabotaging behavior. And until you take a look at those things you may find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over.
  • Any success is often accompanied by unexpected and not always so pleasant side effects. Things may seem just perfect when you dream about them. In reality, it can become a little more complicated and messy.

Now, new things or people can be great.

But if you think this one success or event you are looking forward to in life will fix all your problems or if you focus on the wrong aspects – what is not perfect, how can I get more etc. – instead of the positives and gratitude then you may find yourself always looking for the next thing and create quite a bit of stress and unhappiness within.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Join the 80,000 people that subscribe to the Positivity Newsletter and you’ll get practical tips on happiness, self-esteem, productivity and more each week.

You’ll also get these three guides for free:

  • 21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School.
  • 7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy.
  • 10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Fiona

    Thank you for this article about what others think and Audrey Hepburns phylosophy on life.

    Very interesting read
    Thank you

  • I really enjoy and learning something and I am sure my mind will change from negative perspectives to positive perspectives

  • She was such an incredible lady!

  • Riss

    “You get used to it. After while when you get used to something, when it becomes normal, then the ego tends to want more once again.”

    Wow this is something I’ve only ever thought of abstractly but you put it perfectly succinctly. SO TRUE…

    Thank you.

  • sid Joynson

    Words of widom from another great actress. “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Sophia Loren,

  • Audrey Hepburn was an icon and I can see why. She is beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She was a strong woman with focus and I love her quotes. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Being happy is the most important thing in life. It can make the mind and body feel healthier. If we are not beautiful inside, we can’t be beautiful inside. I’m sticking her quotes as a poster so I can see that first thing in the morning.

  • ann

    I’m ALWAYS excited to read my emails from you!! It’s always a comforting, inspiring, empowering, worthwhile etc. piece of life long learning. It gets me thinking and taking in all the goodness and positive energy that life has to offer IF we allow it to enter into our space. WE are the ultimate in-takers of our own destiny… So we can either choose good or… The other option should NEVER be a considered option! LOVE, LIVE & SHARE the Goodness!!! Ann

  • Yan

    With great pleasure I read the article. Thank you.

  • Gill

    Very interresting and true comments. Excellent food to thought.Thank you

  • #2 might be a problem if you are a human :)

  • Wow! Such a beautiful post! Indeed she’s an incredible lady! Loved all three tips. Thank you Hanrick!