Quotable Notables from the Blogosphere on Happiness

12 Quotes on Happiness from Quotable Bloggers

We blogger types like to quote life’s notables (you know, people like Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Socrates, Buddha, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the like) and use their pithy eloquence as a springboard into a larger discussion on the given topic.

These notable quotables pack lots of wisdom into a terse statement, making them handy reference points, sturdy sources of credibility, and powerful introductions to post topics.

Well, I’ve been thinking. As I read the words of other bloggers who quote the dead regularly (as I do!), I began noticing that they were a wise and eloquent bunch of thinkers themselves. So why not use their pithy eloquence as a springboard too?

I truly hope you learn as much from these notables as I am! Click here for Part II of Happiness from Quotable Bloggers.


Quotable Notables

1. From Tess Marshall at The Bold Life

“Drop your story about your past. It’s impossible to be happy if you blame others for your life circumstances. You aren’t responsible for what happened to you in your childhood. You are responsible for how you handle it today.”

The past simply is no longer in your hands. There is nothing concrete you can do about it anyway. It’s water under the bridge. The only power you have over the past is to shape how you think about it today. And that’s it! You either let the past tie you to it, or you cut the strings, reshape your life, and reinterpret what the past will mean to you today.

If you keep yourself tied to memory, you will have little room for imagination and growth. Why? Because such things are future oriented. But tied strings, like chains and shackles and prison bars, are never concerned with future possibilities.

2-3. Two from Stu (Stuart Mills) at Unlock the Door

“The purpose of life isn’t to make you happy. The purpose of you is to make life happy.”

Life is not here to please us. Life is the afterglow of how we live. It has no motive or intent. It simply follows like a wake as we cut through it, weaving our course. The nature of the wake, then, is dependent upon the nature of the course we cut.

But as we reach out to others, lifting them, inspiring, encouraging and helping as many as happen upon our path to see more truth, more light, more possibility, we make something very special out of life. As we reach out to inspire happiness in others, that gift we offer them is returned to us an hundred fold.

“Happiness isn’t found in the comfort of the oasis. Happiness is found in the struggle of the desert.”

The “oasis” represents arrival. It is luxury, pleasure and comfort. The “desert,” on the other hand, represents difficulty, trial and tribulation, endurance and perseverance. It is the heat and burn of exertion.

So it seems quite counter-intuitive that happiness would be in the struggle and the climb of the desert rather than in the rest of arrival in the lap of the oasis.

While there can be a wonderful feeling of euphoria in accomplishment and arrival, a deeper kind of happiness is fixed to the stretch that the struggle of the desert represents. Happiness is, after all, at least in part, the result of growth and development, of purpose and meaning and character traits such as patience and gratitude and humility and compassion – all characteristics of pursuing and climbing, not arriving and resting.

4. From Jeff Nickles at My Super-Charged Life

“Oh my gosh, people are so easily upset by others nowadays.  It is like we are just waiting for someone to do something that ticks us off.”

We likely all know at least someone who sees the dark motive behind every good deed. They listen for the tone or the glance or the furrowed brow that reveals the “true” intent. There is no benefit of the doubt given, only doubt of the decency behind any benefit offered. Such have placed artificial limits to the lidlessness of happiness.

There is a better way to live! Assume decency. Stop waiting for offense and go looking for goodness. Because guess what! You’ll find in life plenty of whichever one you seek.

5-6. Two from Donald Latumahina at Life Optimizer

“Happiness isn’t something that comes to you, you have to choose it.”

I’ve written elsewhere that many people wait for happiness to rain down on them from “up there.” Because they think happiness is bestowed (by life, luck, the boss, your spouse, God), they wait for the gift instead of making it happen.

But there is no happiness at the bus stop of life. It only resides in the driver’s seat, with the gas pedal pressed down and the windows open.

“If you can’t be cheerful about life itself, then you can’t be cheerful about anything else.”

Life is no more than the summation of how we live it. Life is expansive if we live it reaching higher for ever more light and opportunity. Life is limiting if we live it scrounging for throw-away scraps in the back alleyways of life’s dumpsters. But because life, as it is experienced, is the reflection of the choices we make in it, our love of life and joy in living is but a reflection of how we find joy in the daily experience of life.

7. From Mike Reeves-McMillan at The Change Blog

“The gratitude approach … will increase your overall level of happiness. It’s one of the most reliable methods to be happy. I know that few things give me a lift as much as reflecting on something I can be grateful for.”

There has been little more studied and tested than gratitude in the last 40 years in the happiness literature. And time after time, gratitude proves to be a powerhouse in our pursuit of happiness.

By definition, gratitude focuses our attention on what is good and worthy of our appreciation. It retrains the mind to see the beautiful amidst the ugly. It seeks the joy in the heart of sorrow. And so gratitude transforms the mundane and the miserable alike into opportunities to add more joy even to trying circumstances.

8. From Jason Hughes at Skyward with Jason Hughes

“As we view the world through our pure spiritual eyes, we will have a more complete life experience.  The most simple things will bring us great pleasure.  The breeze, an apple, a child’s laughter.  As this occurs we no longer require sensory overload to obtain a degree of presence.  The gourmet meal is replaced with an apple.  The designer perfume with the spring breeze.  The amusement park thrill ride with a simple moment of conscious breathing. We can achieve this and more if we will only open our spiritual eyes.”

And so the pleasures of the simple things in life can add so much joy to our lives if we but learn to see with those spiritual eyes that Jason references. Spiritual eyes are opened by swimming deeply in spiritual pools.

Reading from scripture and prayer, meditation and pondering spiritual truths, all help focus our spiritual vision. When we clear the clutter of our minds and listen to the whispering of conscience and open ourselves to spiritual insight and inspiration, we can see life with so much more clarity. And we can experience life with so much more happiness, as well!

9. From Mary Jaksch at Goodlife Zen

“When we are loving and kind, we tend to be more patient, tender, gentle, and generous. You can see that loving-kindness is the perfect antidote to dislike, resentment, hatred, fear, and bitterness. And there is a clear connection between loving-kindness and happiness.”

Just imagine the opposite of loving-kindness: hateful-meanness. Self-evidently, these are not characteristics of joy and happiness. To develop the degree of happiness only a loving and kind person can experience, we must work on those traits that are characteristic of a happy person. The more such traits become natural expressions of our inner selves, the happier we will naturally become.

You see, here’s the key to happiness: it is the byproduct of other pursuits. To chase after happiness as a thing to be won is to chase it into the underbrush. But to lure it to you as you develop those traits that create it, well, then happiness is yours for the taking.

10. From Riley Harrison at Getting Unstuck and Living Life Fully

“Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.”

I still remember the line from one of my favorite comedies of all time, The Princess Bride. The hero-in-disguise has a confrontation with his love and proclaims, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

A hilarious comedy, but a horrible motto to live by. Life is not pain. Life has pain. And sometimes the pain must be endured for a time. But life was never meant to be merely tolerated. It was meant to be lived with passion and excitement and growth and significance. It was meant to be enjoyed! You were, indeed, meant to be happy (that sounds familiar!).

11. From Dave Ursillo at Dave Ursillo of the “Lead without Followers” fame

“Happiness is not buried in a secret location. Happiness is around us every day; it is within ourselves. We just need to let it come out.”

Dave has it just right. How many fears and insecurities, how many hatreds and prejudices, how many grudges and regrets, how many unresolved disappointments and doubt and how much guilt and shame are we hanging onto, allowing it all to scrape and scratch and claw at our insides? How much of our own happiness have we buried deep below the rotting corpse of such internal decay?

If we but let such things go, so much happiness will simply rise to the surface and radiate out from our hearts and minds and souls.

12. From Peter G. James Sinclair at Motivational Memo

“I have learnt the value of living in a state of dissatisfied satisfaction. Even though I may not have yet achieved all my dreams, I am determined to enjoy every day of the journey.”

And here we are again. Happiness lies in the journey much more than in the destination. Peter’s “dissatisfied satisfaction” is a powerful state of mind that both keeps him moving forward (like a whirlwind, I might add!) and, at the same time, loving every moment of the process of creating and learning and producing and traveling life’s path of happiness. We can all learn from that example!


This post was fun to write. I love spending time with great ideas from great thinkers. If you enjoyed reading it only half as much as I did writing it, I will have hit the mark.

I trust you have come to agree with me that these “ordinary” bloggers have extraordinary insight into the human experience and our quest for happiness.

I look up to these Quotable Notables and find great strength and motivation and information and inspiration from each of them. Visit them. And come back and visit me too! 😉 And hand in hand, we can travel a happier path together, gleaning from great minds the necessary wisdom to help get us through some of the bumps along the way.

So, what do you think?

•    Any ideas for future topics in this ongoing series?
•    Do you have favorite quotes from any of the bloggers I chose?
•    Any suggestions for future Quotable Notables?
•    What do you think of the ideas presented here?
•    Please share your thoughts in the comments below

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