Searching for inspiration? Reading and thinking about happiness quotes is certainly a good place to start.
Below are some thought provoking quotations to answer our five key questions about happiness:
- Are you pursuing happiness?
- How do you define happiness?
- Is happiness found in success?
- Is happiness found when you’re not looking for it?
- Can you choose to be happier?
Let the happiness quotes themselves do the talking. Think about the significance or implications of the quotation. What does it inspire you to do?
Pursuing Happiness?How does it make you think or feel, and does it prompt you to act? First though, something to get you in the mood. Inspired even!
- “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence, 1776.“
- All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal–a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends–wisdom, money, material and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” Aristotle
How Do You Define Happiness?
Of course, happiness quotes are more useful if we’ve first defined happiness! Martin Seligman is one of the leading thinkers in the growing field of positive psychology. He is the author of: Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment. In this book he describes how “authentic” happiness can be achieved by combining and balancing three approaches to life:
- “The pleasant life: a life that successfully pursues the positive emotions about the present, past, and future.
- The good life: using your signature strengths to obtain abundant gratification (activities we like doing) in the main realms of your life.
- The meaningful life: using your signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are.”
If we combine and balance these, we’re likely to find authentic happiness, in a full life.
- “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
Is Happiness Found In Success?
Although many of the quotes in this section are not specifically “happiness quotes” they carry the sentiment of happiness and success.In: The Hungry Spirit: Beyond Capitalism, Charles Handy refers to this fulsome definition of success:
- “to laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived; this is to have succeeded.” Ralf Waldo Emerson
- “Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein
- “One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its results, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.” Albert Einstein“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” John Ruskin
Is happiness found in success? Perhaps it depends on how you define success!
Is Happiness Found When You’re Not Looking For It?
Perhaps the true road to happiness is not to seek it, but to let it find you.
- “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
As long as you’re prepared for it, both physically and mentally:
- “In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.” John Ruskin
Could you find your happiness by facilitating the happiness of others, especially those whom you manage?
Can You Choose To Be Happier?
Our next happiness quotes come from very diverse sources. Starting with Dale Carnegie’s “how to” statement:
- “Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.”
He quotes Abraham Lincoln as saying: “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Viktor Frankl, reflecting on his and others’ experiences of Nazi concentration camps said:
- “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. “
You may think it strange to find Frankl’s conclusion in a page of “happiness quotes”. However it’s hard to find a better example of the power of mind over matter. Our ability to choose our attitudes to even the most tragic circumstances.
And a Final Happiness Quote – Some “Pretty Good Advice”!
Richard Layard, in his book: Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, discusses the economics of happiness. He quotes Jeremy Bentham, from a letter which Bentham wrote shortly before he died, to the daughter of a friend:
- “Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you to add something to the pleasure or others, or diminish something of their pains.
- And for every grain of enjoyment you sow in the bosom of another, you shall find a harvest in your own bosom, while every sorrow which you pluck out from the thoughts and feelings of a fellow creature shall be replaced by beautiful peace and joy in the sanctuary of your soul.”
“I call that pretty good advice,” concludes Lord Layard. What happy manager could possibly disagree with these happiness quotes?