Some material things make my life more enjoyable; many, however, would not. I like having an expensive private plane, but owning a half-dozen homes would be a burden. Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.
My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.) My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. Ive worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fates distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.
The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.
... the greatest part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you sit down quietyly, may alight upon you.
Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling
The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.
Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality.
To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness
We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
True happiness is to understand our duties toward God and man; to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future; not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient
Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness
The object of living is work, experience, happiness
O Winter! ruler of the inverted year, . . . I crown thee king of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, And all the comforts that the lowly roof Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.
There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails,human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.
There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something
Consciously or unconsciously, everyone of us does render some service or another. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and it will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.
Multitudes of people, drifting aimlessly to and fro without a set purpose, deny themselves such fulfillment of their capacities, and the satisfying happiness which attends it. They are not wicked, they are only shallow. They are not mean or vicious; they simply are empty -- shake them and they would rattle like gourds. They lack range, depth, and conviction. Without purpose their lives ultimately wander into the morass of dissatisfaction. As we harness our abilities to a steady purpose and undertake the long pull toward its accomplishment, rich compensations reward us. A sense of purpose simplifies life and therefore concentrates our abilities; and concentration adds power.
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.
The house a woman creates is a Utopia. She can't help it - can't help trying to interest her nearest and dearest not in happiness itself but in the search for it.