Notable Quotes
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Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.

CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby

Happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, Brave New World

From the greatest to the smallest, happiness and usefulness are largely found in the same soul, and the joy of life is won in its deepest and truest sense only by those who have not shirked life's burdens.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech to the New York State Agricultural Association, Syracuse, New York, Sep. 7, 1903

We know that happiness is short-lived, that we fail to cherish it when it is within our grasp and value it only when it has vanished forever.

JOSÉ SARAMAGO, Baltasar and Blimunda

Happiness is pretty simple: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to.

RITA MAE BROWN, Hiss of Death

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, Huxley and God: Essays

Past happiness augments present wretchedness.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS, The Moral Sayings of Publilius Syrus

That is the secret of happiness and virtue -- liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their un-escapable social destiny.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, Brave New World

False pleasures come from without and are imperfect: happiness is internal and our own.

JOHN LUBBOCK, Peace and Happiness

That thou art happy, owe to God;
That thou continu'st such, owe to thy self,
That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

Happiness is a hard master -- particularly other people's happiness.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, Brave New World

Happiness has not to all the same name: to Youth she is known as the Future; Age knows her as the Dream.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Happiness ... does not consist in the gratification of desires, nor in that freedom from care, that imaginary state of repose, to which most men look so anxiously forward, and with the prospect of which their labors are lightened, but which is more languid, irksome, and insupportable than all the toils of active life. True, the objects we pursue with so much ardor are insignificant in themselves, and never fulfil our extravagant expectations; but this by no means proves them unworthy of pursuit. Properly to estimate their value, we must take into view all the pleasurable emotions they awaken prior to attainment.

WILLIAM MATHEWS, Hints on Success in Life

If you ask a man how he is, he searches himself to find a pain to report. If he has nothing but happiness he hates to mention it, and says, "Oh, not half bad."

FRANK CRANE, "Hidden Happiness," Four Minute Essays

False happiness is like false money, it passes for a time as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions; but when it is brought to the touch, we find the lightness and allay, and feel the loss.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Our happiness depends chiefly upon the estimate we form of life, and the efforts we make to bring ourselves into harmony with its laws.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

Happiness consists in moderate desires, wants easily satisfied.

JAMES PLATT, Platt's Essays, vol. II

In my life I have found two things of priceless worth - learning and loving. Nothing else - not fame, not power, not achievement for its own sake - can possible have the same lasting value. For when your life is over, if you can say "I have learned" and "I have loved," you will also be able to say "I have been happy."


May not we then confidently pronounce that man happy who realizes complete goodness in action, and is adequately furnished with external goods? Or should we add, that he must also be destined to go on living not for any casual period but throughout a complete lifetime in the same manner, and to die accordingly, because the future is hidden from us, and we conceive happiness as an end, something utterly and absolutely final and complete? If this is so, we shall pronounce those of the living who possess and are destined to go on possessing the good things we have specified to be supremely blessed, though on the human scale of bliss.

ARISTOTLE, Nicomachean Ethics

Happiness is to have a little string onto which things will attach themselves.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, A Moment's Liberty, Apr. 20, 1925

Contentment is not happiness. An oyster may be contented. Happiness is compounded of richer elements.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

The happiness of life, like the light of day, consists not in one brilliant flash, but in a series of mild, serene rays.

ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, The Conquest of Happiness

It is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible.

JANE AUSTEN, Northanger Abbey

The best recipe for happiness and contentment I've seen is this: dig a big hole in the garden of your thoughts and put into it all your disillusions, disappointments, regrets, worries, troubles, doubts, and fears. Cover well with the earth of fruitfulness. Water it from the well of contentment. Sow on top the seeds of hope, courage, strength, patience, and love. Then when the time for gathering comes, may your harvest be a rich and fruitful one.

ZIG ZIGLAR, Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World

Neither rejoice nor lament prematurely; for whatever may happen, all will be well if we only have health; for happiness exists--merely in the imagination.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART, letter to Leopold Mozart, Nov. 29, 1777

Happiness never becomes a habit.


Happiness can not come to any man capable of enjoying true happiness unless it comes as the sequel to duty well and honestly done.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at Groton, Massachusetts, May 24, 1904

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.


You have never seen ugliness in a happy face.

WILLIAM JOHN LOCKE, The Beloved Vagabond

A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

JANE AUSTEN, Mansfield Park


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