Quotes on Happiness

These quotes on happiness focus on some of the little things in life. When most people think about happiness, their minds automatically go to some drunken party or an expensive vacation. The truth about happiness is that true happiness comes from tiny brushstrokes each day over the course of a lifetime. In honor of my new book on happiness, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, I bring you these quotes on happiness and a bit of explanation to go along with each one.

"Pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man."
Muhammad Ali

I've always been a big fan of Ali's quotes, mostly for their humor, but this has a serious ring to it. Ali had an illustrious career of fame and fortune and yet here he is saying that things like money and power, which are usually associated with pleasure, are of little importance to a person. What is happiness in Ali's opinion? I would imagine that it has to do with fulfillment, the achievement of important goals and making the choice to think positively in difficult situations.

"Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response."
Mildred Barthel

Sure, there are some people out there who seem happier than others, but the people who are the happiest day in and day out often chose to be that way. Barthel is saying here that happiness takes work. You need to train yourself to choose happiness over discontent. This isn't an easy thing to do, it isn't automatic, and it is especially hard for people who have been choosing to react negatively for their entire lives. Once you enable that choice, however, happiness become a much more viable option.

"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions: the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

People always seem to be wanting more. They enact the pattern that Marci Shimoff calls "I'll be happy when." They say they'll be happy when they get the next big thing in their lives, but they never are. What Coleridge is saying here is that a happy life consists of seeing the small moments of joy and appreciating them for what they are: the pieces of a blissful life. If you can choose to be happy and you can find the small parts of life to appreciate, you will find yourself thinking much brighter thoughts.

"Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action."
Benjamin Disraeli

This quote ties in Ali, Barthel and Coleridge into one, because each of them recommend that you take action to become happier. Ali says that experiencing pleasure isn't enough, you must take on something worthy of your attention. Barthel says that happiness must be trained into you and Coleridge says that you must notice and appreciate the small moments of joy. These are a few parts of the action that Disaraeli is talking about. If you don't make an effort to do anything these wise people have suggested, it's almost assured you will be unhappy. You may not automatically find joy even if you take that action, but avoiding action is like sitting on the sideline of life. If you want to enjoy the game, you must first get in the game.

"Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead."
Scottish Proverb

Of these five quotes on happiness, this quote doesn't really fit exactly with the other four, I just really loved this Scottish proverb. There's no time like the present to take the action you need in order to achieve the happiness you deserve. You certainly are dead a lot longer than you are alive, so it's time to stop your pity party and to start taking advantage of the time you have. Lights. Camera. Action!

Did you like these quotes on happiness? Check out my new book on the subject, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, which is now available in digital and paperback form.

Done with Quotes on Happiness? Go back to Motivation Techniques.

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