If you’re a celebrity and you want to know the best high-end shoes to wear to the Oscars, you don’t ask a salesperson at Payless.
If you’re on a strict budget and you want to know how to save money, you don’t ask Gwyneth Paltrow how to shop.
And if you want to know what will you make you happy, you don’t ask self-help Internet gurus who are just looking to make a quick buck.
Instead, it can help to fall back on the wisdom of history’s greatest thinkers: Socrates, Confucius, Nietzsche and more.
Here’s what some of the greatest philosophers who ever lived discovered about happiness long before you and I were born.
1) Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
More well known for his pursuits of mathematics, Bertrand didn’t speak publicly often about happiness – but it turns out that modern science . They agree that having ‘healthy loving relationships’ is the best way to lead a happy life.
2) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
“Happiness is the feeling that power increases – that resistance is being overcome.”
Not just famous for having a tremendous moustache, Nietzsche wrote publicly about how people reacted to a perceived lack of power. His thoughts were that when people didn’t feel like they had any power, they revolted and took control of their lives, which inevitably made them happier.
3) John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”
Mill had an attitude towards objects that you don’t see often in this modern day world of consumption. He thought that if an object did not have a purpose he should dispose of it.
Think about that drawer of broken chargers and that pile of instruction manuals. Do they add to your happiness?
4) Socrates (470/469 BC – 369 BC)
“The secret of happiness you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
A bigger house? A newer car? The latest iPhone?
Do you need this things or do you want them?
Socrates said that true happiness doesn’t come from obtaining objects, instead it comes from internal success.
This great philosopher said that if we can limit the amount of objects that we want, we’ll begin to get pleasure out of simpler things and ultimately be happier.
5) Confucius (551 BC -470 BC)
“The more man meditates on good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”
Though Confucius may have been dead for some time, his thoughts are backed up even today by
So what’s the bottom line?
If you put your mind to being happy – then you will be happy.
6) Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD)
“The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
More commonly known in today’s psychological circles as the ‘’, the theory is that rewards and punishments are controlled by a locus.
For some, the locus is external – therefore it is the world around them that controls their happiness, but for others, the locus lives internally and they are the people who can be truly happy.
7) Lao Tzu (d. 531 BC)
‘If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Are you having fantastic sex or an engaging conversation? If so, go with it and don’t think too much about what has happened before or what will happen afterwards.
what Lao Tzu has to say. Live in the moment, be happy.
8) Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
“Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a reality to be experienced.”
There are books dedicated to problem solving, but Soren said that we needed to stop thinking this way. Instead of looking at a situation and seeing a problem, instead we should view the situation as an experience. Only when we do this can we get satisfaction from such experiences.
9) Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and softly sit on your shoulder.”
Thoreau encouraged embracing randomness and avoiding routine. He believed that this approach to life was the true route to achieving happiness.
Now you have all the information from some of the greatest minds who have ever lived, how will you put this into practice to start inviting happiness into your life today?