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Notes on Happiness

Collated by Paul Quek



  1. Happiness is a prolonged or lasting emotional or affective state that feels good or pleasing. Overlapping states or experiences associated with happiness include wellbeing, joy, sexual pleasure, delight, health, safety and love, while contrasting ones include suffering, sadness, grief, and pain. Societies, religions, and individuals have various views on the nature of happiness and how to pursue it.

    Happiness originally came from the idea of living the good life of rational virtuous action, and thus was used to translate the Greek Eudaimonia, meaning roughly "to be well-souled". Although nowadays, people often equate pleasure with the term happiness (see hedonism), the original meaning of the term has not been completely discarded among moral philosophers, and is still used and especially prevalent in virtue ethics. Nowadays terms such as well-being or quality of life are commonly used in everyday speech to signify the classical meaning and happiness is reserved for the felt experience or experiences that philosophers historically called pleasure. ...

    In western society, especially in North America, happiness is defined through the achievement of several ideals. These ideals can include a successful, healthy, beautiful family; creating great monetary wealth for oneself; being physically beautiful even through old age; and maintaining one's intelligence and wit. As well, happiness is sometimes defined as always being current according to the latest cultural fads. People who are not updated are seen as unhappy because they are old or out of date, or because they do not have benefit of the fad. Cultural fads can include keeping one's clothes in fashion, going to the latest clubs, restaurants or bars, buying consumer products seen as trendy or cool, or changing a hair style so that it is current. However, some people disagree with these preceding ideals because they consider them too superficial, consumerist and unsatisfying. Such people prefer a life that is personally defined, fulfilled, natural, peaceful, or that detracts in some way from these societal norms. For Americans living in the United States, the happy or ideal life is sometimes referred to as the American dream, which states that through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, anyone can go from rags to riches. Writers such as Horatio Alger promoted this idea.

          -- Happiness
              From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia










  2. You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy. -- Eric Hoffer










  3. The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. -- M. Scott Peck










  4. Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations. -- Edward de Bono


  5. Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt


  6. The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live. -- Bertrand Russell










  7. If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time. -- Edith Wharton










  8. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others. -- Buddha










  9. For everything there is a season,
    And a time for every matter under heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die;
    A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    A time to break down, and a time to build up;
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
    A time to tear, and a time to sew;
    A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    A time to love, and a time to hate,
    A time for war, and a time for peace.

    -- The Holy Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)










  10. Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. -- Benjamin Disraeli


  11. The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. -- Allan K. Chalmers


  12. Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one's own way to the highest, to one's own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one's ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication. -- Algernon Black


  13. Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. -- Albert Schweitzer


  14. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. -- Albert Schweitzer










  15. All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within. -- Horace Friess


  16. Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. -- His Holiness, the Dalai Lama


  17. Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient. -- Aristotle


  18. Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves. -- Helen Keller


  19. Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. -- George Burns


  20. Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. -- John Barrymore


  21. Here we are the way politics ought to be in America; the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose and the politics of joy. -- Hubert H. Humphrey


  22. I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. -- Albert Schweitzer


  23. I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein


  24. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. -- His Holiness, the Dalai Lama


  25. It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an' wealth have both failed. -- Kin Hubbard


  26. Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. -- Helen Keller


  27. Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you. -- Fran Leibowitz


  28. The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. -- Anne Frank


  29. That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest. -- Henry David Thoreau


  30. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet. -- James Oppenheim


  31. The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven. -- John Milton


  32. The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this? -- Henry David Thoreau


  33. The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. -- Claude Monet


  34. The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure. -- Francoise de Motteville


  35. The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad also. -- Felix Adler


  36. There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. -- Carl Jung


  37. There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. -- George Sand


  38. Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. -- James M. Barrie


  39. We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. -- Anne Frank


  40. What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life. -- Leo Buscaglia


  41. When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. -- Helen Keller


  42. When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. -- His Holiness, the Dalai Lama


  43. When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter. -- Albert Camus


  44. You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. -- Albert Camus










  45. Happiness: We rarely feel it.
    I would buy it, beg it, steal it,
    Pay in coins of dripping blood
    For this one transcendent good.

    -- Amy Lowell










  46. Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
    Look to this Day!
    For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
    In its brief course lie all the
    Verities and Realities of your Existence.
    The Bliss of Growth,
    The Glory of Action,
    The Splendor of Beauty;
    For Yesterday is but a Dream,
    And To-morrow is only a Vision;
    But To-day well lived makes
    Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
    And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
    Look well therefore to this Day!
    Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

    -- Kalidasa










  47. I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. -- Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain (960 C.E.)









    From the "Authentic Happiness - Positive Psychology" website:--



  48. Positive Psychology is founded on the belief that people want more than an end to suffering. People want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. We have the opportunity to create a science and a profession that not only heals psychological damage but also builds strengths to enable people to achieve the best things in life.

         -- From http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletters.aspx?id=44&coll_id=5



  49. Article -- "Authentic Happiness" vs Three Traditional Theories of Happiness:--
         DOC     PDF


  50. Article -- Does Suffering Trump Happiness?:--
         DOC     PDF


  51. American Psychology Association (APA) Journal Article (July-August 2005) --
    Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions:--
         PDF