Many people go through hard times in their lives that make them feel down in the dumps. To be frank, things that make them feel depressed, grieved or just sad.

It happens when we may lose our jobs, our significant other walked on us, our family member passed away, or we failed to get a passing grade at our exam.

But that’s the way life is. Sooner or later, we’re going to hit in the feels at the pace of a shinkansen (Japanese term for bullet train). Sometimes, all we need to get back to our feet are a few words of inspiration, enlightenment, and encouragement.

Here are some of the best quotes from history’s greatest legends and random motivational figures that will return your lost smile back to you:

1. “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Explanation: John Lennon wanted to be a living example of his mother’s words and emphasize how happy he was because of them.

2. “Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.” – Frank Tyger

Explanation: This simply means that you should enjoy what you love doing or where your heart lies with the most. As long as it doesn’t cross the boundaries of morality.

3. “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield

Explanation: If you don’t put in the best of your efforts, you’ll never mature to be a more successful person in the future.

4. “Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.” – Unknown

Explanation: You must never be put down by awful things that have recently occurred in your life because you’ll miss out on the many wonders and joys that life has in store for you later on.

5. “We don’t laugh because we’re happy – we’re happy because we laugh.” – William James

Explanation: Laughter is said to be the best medicine because it is scientifically proven to improve our health like burn calories, boost our immune system, relax the entire body and turn our sour mood into a positive one.

6. “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

Explanation: If we take life seriously, we’ll never embrace ourselves as complete human beings. We must experience joy, fun, and relaxation so that we can share those feelings with the ones we love.

7. “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

Explanation: This is really the ‘unlimited wants’ aspect that comes into play. If we continue to chase after things that give us happiness, we’ll only be more dissatisfied with life. Instead, we should stop and appreciate what we already have with us, like family and friends who care about you and never ask for more. 

8. “Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” – Alan Cohen

Explanation: There will never be any substitute for happiness than your family and friends. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited for wanting a new phone, bike, car or anything else that you wish to possess.

9. “If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime – help someone else.” – Chinese Proverb 

Explanation: Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

10. “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” – Ashley Montagu

Explanation: It’s like when we try something new, for instance ice-skating, and we didn’t know we liked it until we tried it out. Another would be a surprise birthday party right after assuming our close friends and loved ones forgot about it and didn’t wish us right away.

11. “Life is a journey, and if you fall in love with the journey, you will be in love forever.” – Peter Hagerty

Explanation: The hardships and challenges that we face in life are very difficult to overcome, but in the end, the results are something that you will appreciate till the ends of time. Then you will realize that everything you did to get to your destination was meant to happen, which is why you should appreciate those experiences more.

12. “Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” – Stacey Charter

 Explanation: We’d love to explain it better than the quote itself, but we can’t because it’s already right on the mark.

13. “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” – Marcel Pagnol 

Explanation: What happens in the past, stays in the past. We can’t do anything to change it, but we can wait for what is to come and make the most out of it.

14. “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” – David Allen

Explanation: Leaving things as they are will not seem as important or satisfying to you until you actually muster up the strength to finish them, whether you like it or not.

15. “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.” – Albert Camus

Explanation: Correct! Being concerned about what others may think about us will only make us come off as puppets instead of humans because we’re trying to live up to their expectations of us. So it’s best to be ourselves and do what pleases us. 

16. “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” – Lucille Ball

Explanation: Happiness isn’t born within, it is something realized later on.

17. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Kahlil Gibran

Explanation: The journey ahead of us is tough, which is riddled with pain and suffering. But those who ascend past those hurdles are the ones who will live a fruitful life until the end. 

18. “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

Explanation: Those people who give up on their dreams and ambitions at the very of all their hard work will be the ones to regret it the most.

19. “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Explanation: There is no need to rush towards your happiness. Just take it slow and easy, and learn to appreciate what you have with you.

20. “We forge the chains we wear in life.” – Charles Dickens

Explanation: We are the ones in charge of the decisions that we make in life and whether good or bad, we will be the ones to see what become of our actions.

21. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Explanation: Twain was a firm believer in God and insinuates how being born and the reason behind it is very crucial for our understanding of life itself. 

22. “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

Explanation: Another self-explanatory sage advice that we needn’t bother with explaining any further.

23. “Everything is a gift of the universe–even joy, anger, jealousy, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.” – Ken Keyes Jr.

Explanation: Our emotions are as essential to our growth as are the experiences that come with our interactions with others and the actions we take in our lives that define who we are. 

24. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers 

Explanation: Lots of people are taken aback by fame and fortune and believe it to be the only way for a person to live their lives in happiness, but it’s not. Greed and fame are nothing but deadly poisons that distance us from the righteous path.

25. “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Charles Swindoll 

Explanation: Life is only a small amount of how we’re born into this world and most of it is about what we do with our lives.

26. “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Winnie the Pooh

Explanation: Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing what others around you are doing, especially if you don’t find it interesting or enjoyable. 

27. “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus

Explanation: There is no point in doing the things that we have no power or control over. For example, stopping ourselves from aging, getting a redo in life or anything similar. 

28. “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 that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller 

Explanation: What has come and gone will never be brought back. So it’s only best for you to move on and look for other opportunities.

29. “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” – Richard Bach 

Explanation: There are possibilities that lie within each challenge that comes our way. And it is by accomplishing those challenges will we obtain the ideal satisfaction for ourselves.

30. “When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’” – Sydney Harris

Explanation: There are plenty of hardships that we think are very hard until we’re proven wrong with an even harder one later on.

31. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

Explanation: The time we live on earth is both short and can only be lived once. So we mustn’t waste it by wanting to live like someone whom we aspire to be.

32. “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Keonig 

Explanation: This quote explains itself. We needn’t look any further for happiness than what we already have at home with our friends and family members.

33. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

Explanation: The life of a human being is akin to living in an ocean of trials and challenges. In other words, it was never meant to be easy.

34. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Explanation: Well it’s pretty fair to say that smile and joy go hand in hand.

35. “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie

Explanation: Just do what you set your heart, mind, and soul out to and you will surely find your happiness. 

36. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

Explanation: Old, worn-out or ridiculous ideas and concepts aren’t very welcoming of new ideas that may end up being fantastic. So unless we try going outside the box, we won’t know if that thing is good or bad.

37. “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Joseph Addison

Explanation: Short, sweet and to the point. It’s the same as saying you love to sing, for instance, and are looking for a chance to make a name for yourself. 

38. “You cannot judge what should bring others joy, and others cannot judge what should bring you joy.” – Alan Cohen

Explanation: You are your own person and no one else gets to tell you what you like to do in order to bring your happiness.

39. “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller 

Explanation: The most beautiful things to feel from the heart are our emotions, which include compassion, generosity, honor, loyalty, and privilege.

40. “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” – Eskimo Proverb

Explanation: The spirits of our friends and loved ones are so eternal that it transcends our existence on earth. It gives us the strength to go on and continue living our life on earth as lovingly and happily as they would have wanted us to.

40 Inspiring Motivational Quotes for Being Happier

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