Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Happiness

"It is indifference which is the cause of most of our unhappiness. Indifference to religion, to the happiness of others, and to the precious gift of freedom, and the wide liberty that is the inheritance of all in a free land. Are we our "Brother's Keeper"? We certainly are! If we had no regard for others' feelings or fortune, we would grow cold and indifferent to life itself. Bound up with selfishness, we could not hope for the success that could easily be ours." - George Matthew Adams

"One of the great arts in living is to learn the art of accurately appraising values. Everything that we think, that we earn, that we have given to us, that in any way touches our consciousness, has its own value. These values are apt to change with the mood, with time, or because of circumstances. We cannot safely tie to any material value. The values of all material possessions change continually, sometimes over night. The real values are those that stay by you, give you happiness and enrich you. They are the human values." - George Matthew Adams

"Upon every hand we meet with those who have some secret resentment that is ever being nurtured within their hearts. They resent the success, or happiness of some one whom they think is less deserving than they are. They resent the just recognition that comes to others from work and long effort to excel. Or, they may resent being born poor - or resent the fact that they were even born!... Strive to excel, strive to achieve, where others have failed, and you will find no space within your mind to lodge resentment. Resentment is the child of selfishness, foolish envy, and inactivity... Our life upon this earth is too valuable for resentment of any kind. There is so much to do, so much to learn - so little time in which to live and work it all out." - George Matthew Adams

"Heaven will permit no man to secure happiness by crime." -

"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, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence." -

"Honor is not that reward of virtue, for which the virtuous work, but they receive honor from men by way of reward, as from those who have nothing greater to offer. But virtue’s true reward is happiness itself, for which the virtuous work, whereas if they worked for honor, it would no longer be virtue, but ambition." -

"It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which quiets the appetite altogether since it would not be the last end if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, that is, of man’s appetite, is the universal good, just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that nothing can quiet man’s will except the universal good. This is to be found not in any creature, but in God alone, because every creature has goodness by participation. Therefore God alone can satisfy the will of man." -

"It is impossible for man’s happiness to consist in wealth." -

"Man does not choose of necessity... in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil; and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely." -

"Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul, is the best gift of heaven; a happiness that, even above the smiles and frowns of fate, exalts great Nature’s favorites; a wealth that ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d." - John Armstrong

"He that does not respect confidence will never find happiness in his path. The belief in virtue vanishes from his heart; the source of nobler actions becomes extinct in him." - Joseph von Auffenberg

"Happiness without peace is temporal; peace along with happiness is eternal." - Arthur Aughey

"Unrequited love is the meaning of life. We’re here to love but not to be loved, to give but not receive. Our mission in this world is to improve humanity and leave a better history than we found. Only selfless love has such power. Only love without interest or expectation of reward can change human beings... To give love without receiving love is the truest love and brings the greatest happiness there is in life." - Adolfo Barcella

"If forsooth we have failed to achieve happiness by conquering more lands... by traveling faster on the surface of things, why not try digging deeper in our own domain... making our life more significant by making it more profound?" - Joseph L. Baron

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Whose happiness is so firmly established that he has no quarrel from any side with his estate of life?" - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher." - James Boswell

"In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of the empire. Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws; hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we have no written laws; and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as much regarded. We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law." - Joseph Brant, aka Thayendanegea

"The full-grown modern human being who seeks but refuge finds instead boredom and mental dissolution, unless he can be, even in his withdrawal, creative. He can find the quality of happiness in the strain and travail only of achievement and growth. And he is conscious of touching the highest pinnacle of fulfillment which his life-urges demand when his is consumed in the service of an idea, in the conquest of the goal pursued." - Robert Briffault, fully Robert Stephen Briffault

"The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose." -

"What happiness is, no person can say for another. But no one, I am convinced, can be happy who lives only for himself. The joy of living comes from immersion in something we know to be bigger, better, more enduring and worthier than we are." -

"The Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, the soul of man is immortal... the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all... the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain." - Richard Maurice Bucke, often called Maurice Bucke

"The life which is in man is eternal, as all life is eternal; that the soul of man is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the long run absolutely certain." - Richard Maurice Bucke, often called Maurice Bucke

"Happiness follows sorrow, sorrow follows happiness, but when one no longer discriminates between happiness and sorrow, a good deed and a bad deed, one is able to realize freedom." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Write down on paper your goal in life. With that down in black and white, we really can get somewhere. Few can define their goal, much less write it. You cannot find happiness until your goal is clear in view." -

"The secret of happiness is renunciation." - Andrew Carnegie

"Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life." - Carrie Chapman Catt

"Pleasure can be supported by the illusion, but happiness rests upon truth." -

"Let us pity the wicked man; for it is very sad to seek happiness where it does not exist. Let our compassion express itself in efforts to bring him gently back to sacred principle, and if he persist, let us pity him the more for a blindness so fatal to himself." - François Ignace Dunod De Charnage

"Physical pleasures can give a person pleasure and happiness to some degree, but this cannot compete with the elevated pleasure that one can derive when one toils in wisdom." - Chazon Ish, named Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz

"As character to be used for eternity must be formed in time and in good time, so good habits to be used for happiness in this life must be formed early; and then they will be a treasure to be desired in the house of the wise, and an oil of life in their dwellings." - George Barrell Cheever

"If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved." - Maurice Chevalier, fully Maurice Auguste Chevalier

"An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves." -

"We communicate happiness to others not often by great acts of devotion and self-sacrifice, but by the absence of fault-finding and censure, by being ready to sympathize with their notions and feelings, instead of forcing them to sympathize with ours." - William Newton Clarke

"Envy is an ill-natured vice, and is made up of meanness and malice. It wishes the force of goodness to be strained, and the measure of happiness abated. It laments over prosperity, and sickens at the sight of health. It oftentimes wants spirit as well as good nature." - Jeremy Collier

"There is no truer and more abiding happiness than the knowledge that one is free to go on doing, day by day, the best work one can do, in the kind one likes best, and that this work is absorbed by a steady market, and thus supports one's own life. Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do." -

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." - Edward Watke, Jr.

"Virtue alone is happiness below." - George Crabbe

"The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency." -

"Those who believe in the theory of rebirth would say that we are here because of our past actions. It can also be said that the essence of life is the search for happiness and the fulfillment of one’s desires. All living beings strive to sustain their lives so that they might achieve happiness. As to why the self, wishing for happiness, came into being, Buddhism answers: This self has existed from beginningless time. It has no end but for it to ultimately achieve full enlightenment." -

"Happiness is fundamental in morals only because happiness is not something to be sought for, but is something now attained, even in the midst of pain and trouble, whenever recognition of our ties with nature and with fellow-men releases and informs our action." - John Dewey

"Search for a single, inclusive good is doomed to failure. Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situation of experience its own full and unique meaning." - John Dewey

"Our happiness depends on the fulfillment of our deepest longings. Our most fundamental longing is for something which is our essential being we already really are. Our happiness, therefore, depends on the extent to which we are able to conform to our inner destiny. But such a consummation is only possible insofar as we freely fulfill this intention in our daily life." - Karlfried Graf Von Dürckheim, fully Karl Friedrich Alfred Heinrich Ferdinand Maria Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men." - Albert Einstein

"Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig." - Albert Einstein

"The chiefest point of happiness is that a man should be willing to be what he is." -

"Domestic happiness is the end of almost all our pursuits, and the common reward of all our pains." - Henry Fielding