Seneca on Misery

“A man is as miserable as he thinks he is.”

~ Seneca

Friedrich Nietzsche on Life

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different…”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Janan Ganesh on Happiness

It takes minimal life experience to know that happiness comes from a small number of disproportionately important things. Perhaps as few as two. One is a fulfilling job. The other is a vital private life, which could mean, according to taste, devotion to one person or what George Michael hailed as “fast love”.

~ Janan Ganesh / FT, February 7 2020

Deborah Ross on Happiness

Sunshine on your face, the sound of rain, the song of a bird, gazing up at a starry sky and all the other things that can distract you from the fact that you have amounted to exactly nothing after all these years and life is unrelentingly bleak. Because that’s all “happiness” is, really.

~ Deborah Ross / Times, Thursday 06 February, 2020

Paul Theroux on Serenity

“He was serene, fulfilled, the real thing, the person no one wants to hear about, a happy man.”

~ Paul Theroux

Helen Keller on Happiness

“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

India Knight on Houses

“What ultimately matters isn’t how grand a house is, or how much it impresses. Who cares, really? What matters most in any home is the happiness of the people in it. It’s a lifelong project.”

~ India Knight / The Times, October 20th, 2019

William Irvine on Fame and Fortune

“In particular, we should use reason to convince ourselves that things such as fame and fortune aren’t worth having—not, at any rate, if what we seek is tranquility—and therefore aren’t worth pursuing. Likewise, we should use our reasoning ability to convince ourselves that even though certain activities are pleasurable, engaging in those activities will disrupt our tranquility, and the tranquility lost will outweigh the pleasure gained.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 227). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Happiness

“Many of us have been persuaded that happiness is something that someone else, a therapist or a politician, must confer on us. Stoicism rejects this notion. It teaches us that we are very much responsible for our happiness as well as our unhappiness. It also teaches us that it is only when we assume responsibility for our happiness that we will have a reasonable chance of gaining it.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (pp. 221-222). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Jarvis Cocker on Excess

There is a famous quote from his drinking, druggy days that sounds embarrassingly self-congratulatory. I recite it back to him. “I had access to the most quality fanny available.” Ah, he says, that’s taken out of context. “It is a bit embarrassing, I suppose, but it wasn’t meant in a show-off way. It was more that they’re the rock’n’roll cliches; they’re the things that are supposed to bring you happiness, aren’t they? You make it, and you’re bathing in champagne and you can snort as much cocaine as you want and fuck as many beautiful women as you want. Then you find you can do those things, but they don’t actually make you very happy.”

How long did it take him to realise? “About six months.”

~ Jarvis Cocker / The Guardian, 24th November, 2008

Professor Green on Success

I thought success would bring me happiness – fuck me, was I wrong. Attaching your happiness to your goals is like a game of pin the tail on the donkey. You’re happy for a second, then you pin your happiness on something or, worse, someone else.

~ Professor Green / Guardian, 27th July 2019

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Happiness

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hunter Thompson on Self-Respect

“I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

~ Hunter Thompson

Hunter Thompson on Peace

“I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone.”

~ Hunter Thompson

Kurt Vonnegut on Happiness

“I still believe that peace and plenty and happiness can be worked out some way. I am a fool.”

~ Kurt Vonnegut

Epictetus on Happiness

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should live so that his happiness depends as little as possible from external causes.”

~ Epictetus

Prue Leith on Luck

“But the other thing I think of more and more — when people say, ‘You’re so jolly and cheerful,’ I think, well, that’s luck too, because it’s all to do with serotonin levels in your brain. It’s all chemical, it’s all luck.”

~ Prue Leith

Richard Feynman on Work and Joy

“Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Do what you get the most pleasure from.”

~ Richard Feynman

Seamus Heaney on Life

“Whoever remains
For long here in this earthly life
Will enjoy and endure more than enough.”

~ Beowulf / Translation Seamus Heaney

Seneca on Happiness

“The human condition is a good one in that no one is unhappy except by his own fault.”

~ Seneca

Shakespeare on Travel

“’Tis ever common That men are merriest when they are from home.”

~ William Shakespeare

Zeno on Life

“The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.”

~ Zeno of Citium

Epictetus on Desires

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

~ Epictetus