Find inspiration and joy from these words of notable people who’ve all attempted to puzzle out the secret to happiness.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —The Dalai Lama. Here are some more quotes about compassion that inspire you to be kind.
On happiness being overrated
“I think happiness is overrated. Satisfied, at peace—those would be more realistic goals.” —Brad Pitt, actor. Here are some myths about happiness that you’ve probably convinced yourself are true.
On not taking yourself too seriously
“I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.” —John Barrowman, actor
On the “key” to happiness
“People say that money isn’t the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.” —Joan Rivers, comedian. You’ll definitely want to take note of these effortless ways to be happier.
On knowing oneself
“I think self-knowledge is a key to happiness. We can build happy lives only on the foundation of our own natures, our own values, and our own interests.” —Gretchen Rubin, author.
On true beauty
“I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.” —Drew Barrymore, actress
On not keeping score
“Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications are not your life.” —J. K. Rowling, novelist. The Harry Potter writer has plenty of happy quotes to share—check out some more of our favorite J. K. Rowling quotes.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and you will be happy.” —Stephen Fry, actor and writer. Find out some more things happy people never, ever do (so you shouldn’t either).
On following kids’ example
“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘all the things that could go wrong.’” —Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher
“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.” —Paul Simon, musician. Here are plenty of science-backed reasons you should smile more.
On the good and the bad
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” —The Dalai Lama. Read some more of the Dalai Lama’s wisest words.
On happiness being fleeting
“Happiness is like a cloud—if you stare at it long enough, it evaporates.” —Sarah McLachlan, musician
On recognizing happiness
“I often surprise myself by saying, ‘Wow, this is it. I guess I’m happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I’m even feeling more and more at peace with myself.’ If there’s something else to happiness, let me know. I’m ambitious for that, too.” —Harrison Ford, actor. Here are some habits of happy families that you’ll definitely want to start picking up on.
On being body positive
“Be happy in your body. It’s the only one you’ve got, so you might as well like it.” —Keira Knightley, actress
On finding light in the dark
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” —Steven Kloves, screenwriter. Just like these happy quotes, these 27 hope quotes will instantly lift you up.
“The good news is that going blind is not going to make you as unhappy as you think it will. The bad news is that winning the lottery will not make you as happy as you expect.” —Daniel Gilbert, social psychologist
On the bad making the good better
“In order to have great happiness, you have to have great pain and unhappiness—otherwise, how would you know when you’re happy?” —Leslie Caron, actress and dancer. Even these happy quotes acknowledge that no one can be happy all the time, and that’s okay. Check out some more positive quotes that will help you see the glass half full.
On a full life
“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?” —Audrey Niffenegger, writer
On the little things
“Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures.” —Ann Brashares, author. Check out some simple tips to wake up happier every day.
On happiness being complicated
“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” —Joanne Harris, author
On high expectations
“A mathematical formula for happiness: reality divided by expectations. There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.” —Jodi Picoult, author. Find out if your state is one of the happiest states in America.
On a problem-free life
“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” —Steve Maraboli, speaker and author
“You can’t be really happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.” —Lauren Oliver, author
On dealing with problems
“A solved problem creates two new problems, and the best prescription for happy living is not to solve any more problems.” —Russell Baker, humorist. Keep the happiness going with some more uplifting, happy quotes that will stay with you.
On letting go
“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” —Rita Mae Brown, feminist author
On being in charge of your own happiness
“If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.” —Richard Bach, author. Check out the 17 best pieces of advice from graduation speeches.