“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
What Keoning is trying to say here is that it frequently isn't the people who are the richest or the most famous or who own the most businesses who are the happiest. It is the people who have learned to be content with what they have. This doesn't mean they can't and shouldn't strive for goals and to do things that make them feel successful. As the next quote will show, goals are an important part of happiness, but, before achieving that goal, the happiest people in the world are very appreciative of what they already have going for them along the way. Gratitude and appreciation are major keys to joy.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
Oh, Einstein. What a smart dude. Einstein doesn't mean to avoid people or to trade in all of your worldly possessions here. He simply means that if you focus on connecting the achievement of your goals with your happiness, you are much more likely to be an upbeat person than if you require some supermodel to fall in love with you or to get that huge house with a pool in the backyard. Give yourself the goal of creating something special for the world (ahem, like the theory of relativity) and don't worry so much about the people and stuff coming into your life. Add this strong goal to the appreciation you have for the people and things in your life and you are well on your way.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
While I may not plan on supporting Herman Cain's bid for the presidency, I do love this quote. When you are choosing the goal that Einstein mentions above, it's not about simply picking something worthy or important. You need to pick a goal, you need to pick something to do that you absolutely love doing. So many people are miserable, in part, because they hate what they do 40 or more hours per week. They do so in an effort to be successful and to provide for their families. What they don't realize is that those who choose to do what they love, tend to be more successful financially and in their levels of happiness. Appreciate what you have and create a worthy goal in an area you love.
“Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!”
Of all the happiness quotations here, I could see Nietzsche's words here being the most frequently misinterpreted. The German philosopher isn't saying to go skydiving or to bungee jump off the nearest bridge. What he means is that you have to really "go for it" during your life. In the previous quote, Herman Cain says to go for what you love. Most people are too afraid to do something like that because it's usually a risky choice. Nietzsche is saying to make those risky choices, not necessarily every day, but certainly when you are picking your life's work. If you decide to stay in your little bubble all of your life, you may be safe, but you are risking the chance of a very unhappy life.
“It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
It all comes back to the beginning of the happiness quotations list with this quote by author and speaker Dale Carnegie. You could have a job you love, people who care about you and a worthy goal all lined up, but if you are pessimistic about the whole pursuit, you are still likely to be unhappy. Incline your mind to joy and think optimistically about your past, your present and your future. If you can think as often as possible about the positive aspects of your life, you are making a luxurious bed of happiness for yourself.