50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes

[I originally wrote this post on March 21, 2015 (check the WebArchive link), and it went viral on social media. — Dr. Sandip Roy.]

These quotes from some of the greatest masters of positive psychology explain how we can get happier and more fulfillment in life.

Positive psychology is commonly known as the science of happiness and well-being.

“(Positive psychology is) The scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life.”

— Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

A quote can inspire us if the words are right. These deeply meaningful quotes will inspire you to realize your true potential with a clarity of mind you may not have known before.

Honestly, you might be blown away by a few of them!

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

— Chuck Palahniuk

50 Greatest Quotes of Positive Psychology

Here are the 50 greatest positive psychology quotes:

• The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life. — Martin Seligman (Father of Positive Psychology)

Martin Seligman's positive psychology quote
Martin Seligman – The Father of Positive Psychology

• If positive psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all, and no one lacks it all. — Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson - positive psychology quotepeterson
Christopher Peterson (1950 – 2012)

• Once you start making the effort to “wake yourself up” — that is, be more mindful in your activities — you suddenly start appreciating life. — Robert Biswas-Diener (nicknamed “Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology”)

Robert Biswas-Diener - positive psychology quote

• As for the future, it remains unwritten. Anything can happen, and often we are wrong. The best we can do with the future is to prepare and savor the possibilities of what can be done in the present.

Todd Kashdan
Todd Kashdan - positive psychology quote

• It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits. ― Ellen J. Langer

Ellen Langer - positive psychology quote

• A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Father of “Flow”)

Mihaly R. Csikszentmihalyi (1934 – 2021)

• Love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being. — Barbara L. Fredrickson

Barbara Fredrickson - positive psychology quote

• While some pain is probably inevitable in all relationships, successful couples are usually the ones who are able to forgive. — Ilona Boniwell

positive psychology quote ilona boniwell - 50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes - 1

• Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl - positive psychology quote
Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997)

• Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.

Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt - positive psychology quote

• The good life is a process, not a state of being. — Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers On A Good Life - positive psychology quote

• Probably the biggest insight … is that happiness is not just a place, but also a process. Happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, and… it takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy. — Ed Diener (lovingly known as “Dr. Happiness”)

Edward F. Diener (1946 – 2021)

• Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it. — Daniel Kahneman (The Winner of 2002 Nobel in Economics)

Daniel Kahneman positive-psychology-quote
Daniel Kahneman (1934 – 2024)

• The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived. — Søren Kierkegaard (The First Existentialist Philosopher)

Søren Kierkegaard positive-psychology-quote
Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855)

• Compassion is one of the few things we can practice that will bring…happiness to our lives. — Dalai Lama (The Spiritual Leader of The Tibetan People)

Dalai Lama quote - positive-psychology-quote

• We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.

Virginia Satir (The Mother of Family Therapy)
Virginia Satir - positive-psychology-quote

• For happy people, time is ‘filled and planned.’ For unhappy people, time is unfilled, open, and uncommited; they postpone things and are inefficient.

Michael Argyle (Co-author of ‘The Psychology of Money’ with Adrian Furnham)

• If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life. — Abraham Maslow (Proponent of The Hierarchy of Needs)

Abraham Maslow positive-psychology-quote

• Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations. — Edward de Bono (Originator of the concept of Lateral Thinking)

Edward de Bono positive-psychology-quote

• We need each other. The sooner we learn that, it is better for us all.

Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson quote - positive-psychology-quote

The next quote is from an iconic American novelist, who wrote the landmark transgressive fiction Fight Club:

• We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.— Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk quote

The next quote is from a non-psychologist, but it captures the essence of positive psychology. Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs and still has traveled to 50 countries to speak to millions of people, is vastly more inspirational than most of us.

• Life isn’t about having, it’s about being. You could surround yourself with all that money can buy, and you’d still be as miserable as a human can be. I know people with perfect bodies who don’t have half the happiness I’ve found. … The “if I just had X, I would be happy” syndrome is a mass delusion. When you look for happiness in mere objects, they are never enough. Look around. Look within.

Nick Vujicic, speaker, born with Tetra-amelia Syndrome, a rare disorder marked by the absence of arms and legs, author of Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life
Positive psychological quote Nick Vujicic
Motivational Speaker Nick Vujicic

• The truth is, bad things don’t affect us as profoundly as we expect them to. That’s true of good things, too. We adapt very quickly to either. —Daniel Gilbert (Researcher on Affective Forecasting)

Daniel Gilbert positive-psychology-quote

• When we encounter an unexpected challenge or a threat, the only way to save ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us and not let go. — Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor positive-psychology-quote

• Happiness, not money or prestige, should be regarded as the ultimate currency — the currency by which we take the measure of our lives.

Tal Ben-Shahar (Taught the most popular course in the history of Harvard University, Positive Psychology 1504)
Tal Ben-Shahar positive-psychology-quote

• Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous. — Brené Brown

Brené Brown positive-psychology-quote

• Hope has proven a powerful predictor of outcome in every study we’ve done so far. — Charles Rick Snyder

Charles Snyder positive-psychology-quote

• Every person on this earth is full of great possibilities that can be realized through imagination, effort, & perseverance. — Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman positive-psychology-quote

• The best way to find out whether you’re on the right path? Stop looking at the path. — Marcus Buckingham (Founder of The Strengths Revolution)

Marcus Buckingham positive-psychology-quote

• Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. — Sigmund Freud (Founder of Psychoanalysis)

Sigmund Freud positive-psychology-quote

• Follow your dreams. Figure out where you’d like to be, what you would like to be doing, and then figure out what you need to do to get there.

Kennon Sheldon
Kennon Sheldon positive-psychology-quote

• Happiness is not out there for us to find. The reason that it’s not out there is that it’s inside us. — Sonja Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness)

Sonja Lyubomirsky positive psychology quote

• Becoming is better than being. — Carol S. Dweck (Pioneering Researcher of Mindset)

Carol Dweck positive psychology quote

• Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. — Carl Jung (Founder of Analytical Psychology)

Carl Jung positive-psychology-quote

• We transcend grief only when we realize how connected we are with all the other humans who struggle to transcend theirs. — Susan Cain, author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole

we transcend grief - susan cain positive psychology quote

• Discussing positive experiences leads to heightened well-being, increased overall life satisfaction, and even more energy. — Nathaniel M. Lambert (The Journal of Positive Psychology)


• Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it. —Albert Schweitzer (Philosopher, Physician, Nobel Prize winner)

Albert Schweitzer quote

• Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. — Lao Tzu (Founder of Taoism)

Lao Tzu quote

• It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted. Yet, everyone takes the happy person for granted. — Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin positive psychology quote

• We can regret less and be grateful for what is good in life.

Barry Schwartz

• The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention. — Sharon Salzberg


• Gratitude … goes far beyond saying “thank you.” When we are grateful, we affirm that a source of goodness exists in our lives. — Robert Emmons (World’s Foremost Researcher on Gratitude)

Robert Emmons positive psychology quote

• Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship, mutual respect, and enjoyment of each other’s company. — John Gottman (Four decades of research on Divorce Prediction and Marital Stability)

John Gottman quote
The Man's Guide to Women: Scientifically Proven Secrets

• A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. — Paul Romer (Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2018)


• Denial is a useful defense mechanism until it’s not. — Rosalind Kaplan


• Genuine feelings cannot be produced, nor can they be eradicated. We can only repress them, delude ourselves, and deceive our bodies. The body sticks to the facts.

Alice Miller

• Compassion does not render people tearful idlers, moral weaklings, or passive onlookers, but individuals who will take on the pain of others. — Dacher Keltner (Director of the Greater Good Science Center)


• What stress really does, though, is deplete willpower, which diminishes your ability to control those emotions. — Roy F. Baumeister (Author of Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty)


• When we are open to new possibilities, we find them. Be open and skeptical of everything. — Todd Kashdan

Todd Kashdan’s Positive Psychology quote

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.

Kurt Cobain, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter at the grunge-rock band Nirvana
Kurt Cobain’s Biography by his manager Danny Goldberg

When 1 Million Hits Happened!

This is the world’s first collection of famous Positive Psychology Picture Quotes. When I first published it on March 21, 2015, I never imagined it would go viral!

The post saw over 1 million (1,006,505) hits as early as Oct 2016.

By then, it had been virally shared over social media, with Facebook shares clocking in at 3,600, Twitter at 551, LinkedIn at 403, and Pinterest at 725.

After giving it my best efforts and countless hours of lost sleep, I felt greatly satisfied when it became the most shared Positive Psychology Quotes post on the internet.

These picture quotes (then almost a novelty) have been copied and re-posted at many places. But frankly, I am incredibly happy that the words spread far and wide. I feel proud it turned out to be the first of its kind.

Years later, I still feel (and will continue to feel) humbled. And grateful to everyone who came to this post and found it useful.

Below is a video of the picture quotes that I later made and posted on YouTube:

World's Best Positive Psychology Quotes
Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes

I also created a beautiful photo-book with the quotes, and I’d be delighted if you could buy a copy or gift it to someone you care for. Click to buy the book!

We tried to include every one of the Who’s Who of Positive Psychology:

Abraham Maslow, Martin Seligman, Chris Peterson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ed Diener, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon, Todd Kashdan, Robert Biswas-Diener, Barbara Fredrickson, Ellen Langer, Ilona Boniwell, Daniel Gilbert, Robert Emmons, Dacher Keltner, Jonathan Haidt, Tal Ben-Shahar, Charles R. Snyder, Scott Barry Kaufman, Nathaniel M. Lambert, John Gottman, Shawn Achor.

  • Abraham Maslow, the legendary psychologist behind the Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, was the one who coined and gave us the term positive psychology in 1954.
  • As we searched through publicly available resources, the journey became increasingly fascinating, and we rushed to include Carl Rogers, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung.
  • We also included some “psychological” quotes by a few giants who are not positive psychologists but work in other branches, like social psychology.
  • We also went a little adventurous and included quotes from some inspirational masters of their trade, but incidentally not from the world of psychology, such as Nick Vujicic, Dalai Lama, Paul Romer, and even rock ‘n’ roll legend Kurt Cobain. Their words make us feel optimistic, feel good, and prove that happiness is a choice. Without their words, this post and our world would have been poor.

And, yes, Todd Kashdan makes a double appearance!

happiness is not ready made Dalai Lama XIV - 50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes - 2

My Favorite 5 Quotes From Positive Psychology

  1. A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  2. Love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being. — Barbara Fredrickson
  3. The truth is, bad things don’t affect us as profoundly as we expect them to. That’s true of good things, too. We adapt very quickly to either. — Daniel Gilbert
  4. Happiness, not money or prestige, should be regarded as the ultimate currency — the currency by which we take the measure of our lives. — Tal Ben-Shahar
  5. When we are open to new possibilities, we find them. Be open and skeptical of everything. — Todd Kashdan

Final Words

Please keep this page bookmarked, download the picture quotes, and share them on your social media as much as you feel like. If you link back to this article, I’d be grateful. If not, I wouldn’t mind at all.

Thank you, forever!

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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.