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True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self, and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) - The Spectator, Number 15, March 17, 1711.

Happiness is a perfume that one cannot shed over another without a few drops falling on oneself.
Anon - but often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but cannot be found in any of his works. See a discussion here:

Wealth and poverty do not lie in a man's estate, but in men's souls.
Antisthenes (445 BC - 365 BC)- Xenophon, Symposium, iv. 34

Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions.
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) - Nicomachean Ethics (4th C. B.C.), I.8,Tr. Thompson

Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) - in Politics

To live happily is an inward power of the soul.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) - Meditations Book XI, XV

Very little is needed to make a happy life.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) - Meditations Book VII, 67

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 (121-180) - Quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts, ed. T. Edwards, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891, p. 572

Action is the antidote to despair.
Joan Baez (1941 -) - Rolling Stone, 1983

Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how deeply we pay for its counterfeit.
Hosea Ballou (1771-1852) - Quoted in Hoyt's Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1922, p350, sourced as MS, Sermons.

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
John Barrymore (1882-1942) - Quoted in Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, 2006

In this world, full often, our joys are only the tender shadows which our sorrows cast.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) - Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.
William Blake (1757-1827) - "Eternity" (1793-99)

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness.
Francis Herbert Bradley (1846-1924) - Aphorisms, no. 33 (1930)

Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is an alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) - The Child Who Never Grew, 1950, Woodbine House Ed, 1992, p.25

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.
George Washington Burnap - The Sphere and Duties of Woman : A Course of Lectures (1848), Lecture IV - Quote misattributed to Joseph Addison

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) - Essais p85.

You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) - The Fall (1956)

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.
Andrew Carnegie

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
Willa Cather - My Antonia, 1918, Book 1, Ch 2.

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and hold fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.
Willa Cather - Willa Cather in Europe (1956), Ch. 13 (10 September 1902)

The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that we obtain from our surroundings.
Clemens Alex. Strom. II., 21 - Quoted in The Wisdom of Life, by Arthur Schopenhauer, "Division of the Subject," London, 1890.

Happiness, that grand mistress of the ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route.
Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon (1825)

What is earthly happiness? that phantom of which we hear so much, and see so little; whose promises are constantly given and constantly broken, but as constantly believed; that cheats us with the sound instead of the substance, and with the blossom instead of the fruit. Like Juno, she is a goddess in pursuit, but a cloud in possession.
Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon (1825)

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) - O Pioneers!, 1918.

Happiness is contentment; pleasure has a sting in its tail.
Chinese Proverb

Happiness depends, as Nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose.
William Cowper (1731-1800) - Table Talk, Line 246

Happiness is not an end — it is only a means, and adjunct, a consequence.
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887) - A Woman's Thoughts About Women, London: Hurst and Blackett, 1858, p. 256

Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.
Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) - Rebecca, 1938

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) - Essay "Nature"

Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account.
Euripides - Bellerophon, Fragment 298; quoted in Plutarch's Morals : Ethical Essays (1888) edited and translated by Arthur Richard Shilleto, p. 293

Human nature, at its best, had always been based on a deep heroic restlessness, on wanting something--something else, something more, whether it be true love or a glimpse just beyond the horizon. It was the promise of happiness, not the attainment of it, that had driven the entire engine, the folly and glory of who we are.
Will Ferguson - Happiness

A great obstacle to happiness is to anticipated too great a happiness.
Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757) - Essay on "Happiness"

It is the pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) - Man's Search for Meaning (1946)

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) - Man's Search for Meaning (1946)

Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.
Benjamin Franklin (1714-1790) - Letter to Lord Kames, 1786, in Papers, Vol 15, pp. 60-61.

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
Robert Frost - quoted in Vernon McLellan's Wise Words and Quotes

The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.
Attributed to B. Franklin - but without any substantiation in his writings.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) -

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self-same well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
Kahlil Gibran, "On Joy and Sorrow," The Prophet (1923)


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 that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran - "On Joy and Sorrow," The Prophet (1923)

Sadness flies on the wings of the morning, and out of the darkness comes the light.
Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944)- The Mad Woman of Challot (1945)



The man who is born with a talent which he is meant to use, finds his greatest happiness in using it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) - Wilhelm Meister

Happiness is a ball after which we run, wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) - Quoted in Perfect Jewels, a collection of the choicest things in the literature of Life, Love and Religion, Mills, Dodge & Pomeroy, 1886, p. 545.

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 (1868-1936) - The Zykovs, 1914

Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940)

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 Hawthorn - The American Notebooks (1835 - 1853) 1851.

Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.
Herman Hesse (1877-1962) - Quoted in: Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, 2006

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
Eric Hoffer - The Passionate State of Mind (1955)

To believe that if we could have but this or that we would be happy is to suppress the realization that the cause of our unhappiness is in our inadequate and blemished selves. Excessive desire is thus a means of suppressing our sense of worthlessness.
Eric Hoffer - The Passionate State of Mind (1955)

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself, or better yet, loved despite oneself.
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) - Les Miserables, 1862.

Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people's happiness.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - Brave New World, ch. 16, (1932) Spoken by the character Mustapha Mond.

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - Brave New World,

Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmit ting to others the rays of a supreme and ever shining benevolence.
Washington Irving (1783-1859) - The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, "Christmas," Vol II, London, 1822, p. 13.

True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self; but the point is not only to get out — you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.
Henry James - Roderick Hudson (1875), ch. I: Rowland

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) - Letter to Mrs. A.S. Marks

Happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed them, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) - NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, QUERY XIV, Feb. 27, 1787. 

Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers gardens.
Douglas Jerrold (1803-1857) - Specimens of Douglas Jerrold's Wit, ed Blanchard Jerrold, 3rd ed, Ticknor and Fields, 1859, p. 168.

True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice.
Ben Jonson (1572-1637) - Cynthia's Revels, Act III Sc.2

Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination.
Immanuel Kant - Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Ethics (1785)

Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.
Immanuel Kant - Critique of Practical Reason (1788)

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
Helen Keller (1880-1968)

A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) - The Simplest Way to be Happy, Home magazine, Feb, 1933.

Most people measure their happiness in terms of physical pleasure and material possession. Could they win some visible goal which they have set on the horizon, how happy they could be! Lacking this gift or that circumstance, they would be miserable. If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep. If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, — if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) - Optimism (1903)

No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) - Optimism (1903)

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 been opened for us.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) - We Bereaved (1929)

Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.
Helen Keller (1880-1968)

If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, — if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) - Optimism, 1903.

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
Soren Kierkegaard - Either/Or (1843)

Happiness is in the taste, and not in the things.
La Rochefoucaul - Maxims (1665)

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) - Quoted in Worth Repeating: More than 5000 Classic and Contemporary Quotes, ed Bob Kelly, Kregel Publications, 2003, p. 193

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living with what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Norman MacEwan (1881-1953) -

We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
Thomas Merton - No Man is an Island, 1955.

A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) - No Man Is An Island, 1955, 1983

I do not like the idea of happiness – it is too momentary – I would say that I was always busy and interested in something – interest has more meaning to me than the idea of happiness.
Georgia O'Keefe - The Complete Correspondence of Georgia O’Keeffe & Anita Pollitzer, edited by Clive Giboire (Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster Inc., New York, 1990), p. 324

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.
James Oppenheim - Also attributed to James Openheimer, one of the scientists who helped make the atomic bomb. The quote however, does not seem his style.

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell (1903-1950) - Critical Essays, 1945.

Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.
Gretta Brooker Palmer (1905-1953) - Quoted in Memorable Quotations: American Women Writers of the Past, ed. Dell, Writers Club Press, 2000, p. 217

Happiness must be cultivated. It is like character. It is not a thing to be safely let alone for a moment, or it will run to weeds.
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) - Dr. Zay, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1882

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963 ) - The Bell Jar, Ch. 8, 1963

Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.
Anna Quindlen (1952 - ) - A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Random House, 2000

The happiness of life consists, like the day, not in single flashes (of light), but in one continuous mild serenity. The most beautiful period of the heart’s existence is in this calm equable light, even although it be only moonshine or twilight. Now the mind alone can obtain for us this heavenly cheerfulness and peace.
Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825) - Quoted in Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay, S. Austin Allibone, comp., 1880, p302.

Happiness lies more in imagination than in real possession. We are made happy by obtaining, not what others esteem desirable, but what we ourselves think so.
François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) - Maxims, and Moral Reflections. By the Duke de la Rochefoucault, Volume 8, Edinburgh, 1796, Maxim CLXXXVII, p.53.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt - First Inaugural Address

We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence.
Joseph Roux (1834-1905) - Meditations of a Parish Priest, Pensées, translated by Isabel Florence Hapgood, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1886, Part 9, LIV

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore Isaac Rubin (1923- ) - Quoted in Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, 2006

Indeed, man wished to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.
St. Augustine, The City of God (426)

The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.
William Saroyan - My Heart's in the Highlands (1939)

Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure, are by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral and subject to chance.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - Essays, 1841

It is quite certain that what a man is contributes much more to his happiness than what he has...What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - The Wisdom of Life, "Division of the Subject," London, 1890

The ordinary man places his life’s happiness in things external to him, in property, rank, wife and children, friends, society, and the like, so that when he loses them or finds them disappointing, the foundation of his happiness is destroyed.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - The Wisdom of Life, "Division of the Subject," London, 1890

There is no happiness on earth like that which at the propitious moment a fine and fruitful mind finds in itself.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - Essays, "Thinking for Oneself," 1841

Money is human happiness in abstraction; so that a man who is no longer capable of enjoying it in concrete gives up his whole heart to it.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - Essays, "Psychological Observations," 1841

The state of human happiness, for the most part, is like certain groups of trees, which seen from a distance look wonderfully fine; but if we go up to them and among them, their beauty disappears; we do not know wherein it lay, for it is only trees that surround us. And so it happens that we often envy the position of others.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - Essays, "Psychological Observations," 1841

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965 )

To live happily is the same thing as to live in accordance with nature's laws.
Idem est ergo beate vivere et secundum naturam.
Seneca The Younger (4 BC - AD 65) - De Vita Beata, VIII. , 2.

We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without creating it.
George Bernard Shaw - Candida, Act I (1898)

Happiness is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.
John B. Sheerin - Quoted in the Odessa American, Newspaper, September 4, 1956, p 5.

It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world. Both attributes are within our power, so that a man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy, and no one can stop him.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)- Pavel Rusanov in Cancer Ward, p266.

One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) - Shulubin, in Cancer Ward (1968) Pt. 2, Ch. 10

Pollo to phronein eudaimonias proton uparchei
Wisdom is the greatest part of happiness.
Sophocles (496 BC - 406BC) - Antigone, 1347-8

Happiness is a virtue, not its reward.
Baruch Spinoza

Conscious virtue is the only solid foundation of all happiness; for riches, power, rank, or whatever, in the common acceptation of the word, is supposed to constitute happiness, will never quiet, much less cure, the inward pangs of guilt.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773) -letter, Dec. 26, 1749, Letters Written by the Late Right Honorable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. II, p. 307, London (1774).

Almost all our misfortunes in life come from the wrong notions we have about the things that happen to us. To know men thoroughly, to judge events sanely, is, therefore, a great step towards happiness.
Stendhal - Pen Name of French writer Marie-Henri Beyle - Journal entry (10 December 1801)

There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.
Robert Louis Stevenson - An Apology for Idlers

One of the surest ways to find happiness for yourself is to devote your energies toward making someone else happy. Happiness is an elusive, transitory thing. And if you set out in search for it, you will find it evasive. But if you try and bring happiness to someone else, then it comes to you.
W. Clement Stone (1902-2002) - W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill, Success through a Positive Mental Attitude, 1960

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it the more it will elude you but if you turn your attention to other things it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)



Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) - Walden, conclusion, paragraph 13.

Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) - War and Peace Book IV, ch. 1.

There is no such thing as finding true happiness by searching for it directly. It must come, if come at all, indirectly, or by the service, the love and the happiness we give to others.
Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) - What all the World's A-Seeking, 1896.

Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.

Happiness is a good that nature sells us.
Voltaire (1694-1778) - "Discourses on Man, Number 4," in Life of Voltaire, Volume 2, James Parton, 1889, 332

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

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.
Margaret Young