Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them.


What is called happiness is an abstract idea, composed of various ideas of pleasure; for he who has but a moment of pleasure is not a happy man, in like manner that a moment of grief constitutes not a miserable one.

VOLTAIRE, A Philosophical Dictionary

I spit on your happiness! I spit on your idea of life--that life that must go on, come what may. You are like dogs that lick everything they smell. You with your promise of a humdrum happiness--provided a person doesn't ask too much of life. I want everything of life, I do; and I want it now! I want it total, complete: otherwise I reject it! I will not be moderate. I will not be satisfied with the bit of cake you offer me.


Happiness can come in a single moment. And in a single moment it can go again. But a single moment does not create it. Happiness is created through countless choices made and then made again throughout a lifetime. You are its host as well as its guest. You give it form, shape, individuality, texture, tone. And what it allows you to give can change your world. Happiness can be stillness. But it isn't still. It wraps, enchants, heals, consoles, soothes, delights, calms, inspires and connects. It is on your face and in your body. It is in your life and being.

STEPHANIE DOWRICK, Choosing Happiness

Maybe that was the secret of happiness--not expecting any one thing to last forever.

BARBARA O'NEAL, The Lost Recipe for Happiness

A man who exercises habitually only one set of his faculties, to the neglect of the others, is only a fragment of a man, and his happiness though it may be great, cannot be complete.

JOHN FORBES, Of Happiness in Relations to Work and Knowledge

Can this be happiness, this terrifying freedom?


The broader unquestioned premises upon which my own culture founded its view of the human condition, such as the one that Unhappiness is as legitimate a part of experience as happiness and necessary in order to render happiness appreciable, or that it is more advantageous to be young than to be old: those still took me a long time to pry loose for reexamination.

JEAN LIEDLOFF, The Continuum Concept

Happiness is not the portion of man.


I think the serious things really are the things that make for happiness--people and things that are compatible, love.... So many people are content just to sit around and talk about them instead of getting out and attaining them. As if life were a joke of some kind.


Happiness has to be installed in each person as a state of affairs completely cut off from the process that brought it about and, in particular, from the real situation. Man has to be affected with happiness. It is a tonality given to him. Contradiction: if one does take care to give him happiness, it is because he is a free creature--but in order to give it to him, one turns him into an object.

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE, Notebooks for an Ethics

Like all human emotions, feelings of happiness don't last. No matter how hard we try to hold on to them, they slip away every time. And as we shall see, a life spent in pursuit of those good feelings is, in the long term, deeply unsatisfying. In fact, the harder we chase after pleasurable feelings, the more we are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.

RUSS HARRIS, The Happiness Trap

If the behaviour of babies and small children is any guide, we emerge into the world with our tendencies to imbalance already well entrenched. In our playpens and high chairs, we are rarely far from displaying either hysterical happiness or savage disappointment, love or rage, mania or exhaustion--and, despite the growth of a more temperate exterior in adulthood, we seldom succeed in laying claim to lasting equilibrium, traversing our lives like stubbornly listing ships on choppy seas.

ALAIN DE BOTTON, The Architecture of Happiness

The belief that happiness has to be deserved has led to centuries of pain, guilt, and deception. So firmly have we clung to this single, illusory belief that we've almost forgotten the real truth about happiness. So busy are we trying to deserve happiness that we no longer have much time for ideas such as: Happiness is natural, happiness is a birthright, happiness is free, happiness is a choice, happiness is within, and happiness is being. The moment you believe that happiness has to be deserved, you must toil forevermore.

ROBERT HOLDEN, Happiness Now: Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good Fast

I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves--such an ethical basis I call more proper for a herd of swine.


Your attitude to life is far more important in determining your happiness than your money, appearance, social status or talent.

STEPHANIE DOWRICK, Choosing Happiness

We live in a feel-good society, a culture thoroughly obsessed with finding happiness. And what does that society tell us to do? To eliminate "negative" feelings and accumulate "positive" ones in their place. It's a nice theory, and on the surface it seems to make sense. After all, who wants to have unpleasant feelings. But here's the catch: the things we generally value most in life bring with them a whole range of feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant. For example, in an intimate long-term relationship, although you will experience wonderful feelings such as love and joy, you will also inevitably experience disappointment and frustration.... It's pretty well impossible to create a better life if you're not prepared to have some uncomfortable feelings.

RUSS HARRIS, The Happiness Trap

Who would dare speak the word "happiness" in these tortured times? Yet millions today continue to seek happiness. These years have been for them only a prolonged postponement, at the end of which they hope to find that the possibility for happiness has been renewed. Who could blame them? And who could say that they are wrong? What would justice be without the chance for happiness? What purpose would freedom serve, if we had to live in misery?

ALBERT CAMUS, Combat, Dec. 22, 1944

A lump rises in our throat at the sight of beauty from an implicit knowledge that the happiness it hints at is the exception.

ALAIN DE BOTTON, The Architecture of Happiness

Happiness--like love--is itself an attitude.

STEPHANIE DOWRICK, Choosing Happiness

Constant happiness is the philosopher's stone of the soul.

VOLTAIRE, A Philosophical Dictionary

Success is identical with happiness only on condition that we have aimed at and attained those things in life which are really worthwhile, and--if success is to be complete--the most worthwhile. Any success which does not result in happiness, in some one of its varied forms, for self or for others, is a sham.

FRANK CHAPMAN SHARP, Success: A Course in Moral Instruction

If I think that happiness is possible, I know all too well its hidden nature--and by what wretched paradox, instead of being an excess that would elevate us in dignity, it is a numbness we are only aware of afterward.

ALBERT CAMUS, letter, Jun. 18, 1938

The future seems a little gloomy! Go to bed early, sleep well, eat moderately at breakfast; the future looks brighter. The world's outlook may not have changed, but our capacity for dealing with it has. Happiness, or unhappiness, depends to some extent on external conditions, but also, and in most cases chiefly, on our own physical and mental powers. Some people would be discontented in Paradise, others ... are cheerful in a graveyard.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

So this is happiness,
that journeyman.

ANNE SEXTON, poem, Nov. 9, 1970

Happiness doesn't care how you get there.

ERNIE J. ZELINSKI, How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free


Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes