Where can we find happiness? Happiness is not found in a tranquil life free of storms and tempests. Real happiness is found in the struggles we undergo to realize our goals, in our efforts to move forward.

As long as we are alive we will experience sufferings. But that does not mean we have to be unhappy. Unhappiness comes from allowing ourselves to be controlled by life’s ups and downs-from feeling defeated, from losing hope, losing courage, losing the will to advance.

We each move forward secure on our own earth, not the earth of others. Happiness is something we must create for ourselves. No one else can give it to us.

Material wealth does not necessarily make for happiness. Nor does fame. Hope is life’s greatest treasure. A life without hope is bleak and gray. If you have no hope, create some.

Hope transforms pessimism into optimism. Hope is invincible. Hope changes everything. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy. Hope is the sun. It is light. It is passion. It is the fundamental force for life’s blossoming.

It is important to keep the promises made to friends. This is the true meaning of friendship. To become people who can do so, however, we must first learn to keep the promises we have made to ourselves.

If you remain sincere in your interactions with others, you will naturally come to find yourself surrounded by good friends.

Friendship is the most beautiful, most powerful and most valuable treasure in life. It is your true wealth. No matter how much status people may gain or how rich they may become, a life without friends leads to an unbalanced, self-centered existence.

There is no true joy in a life lived closed up in the little shell of the self. When you take one step to reach out to people, when you meet with others and share their thoughts and sufferings, infinite compassion and wisdom well up within your heart. Your life is transformed.

Friendship is tested and proven in adversity. Perhaps only those who have suffered truly demoralizing blows can fully appreciate the beauty of friendship.

Just as a spring breeze awakens tender new shoots of green, sincere encouragement can thaw a frozen heart and instill courage. It is the most powerful means to rejuvenate the human spirit.

“Thank you” is a miraculous expression. We feel good when we say it, and we feel good when we hear it. When we speak or hear the words thank you, the armor falls from our hearts and we communicate on the deepest level.

Friendship is not a matter of the amount of time you spend with someone. Rather, it is a measure of the strength and depth of the spiritual resonance that arises between you.

In Japan, the mountain potatoes known as taros are rough and dirty when harvested, but when they are placed in a basin of running water together and rolled against each other, the skin peels away, leaving the potatoes shining clean and ready for cooking. Similarly, the only way for us to hone and polish our character is through our interactions with others.

Genuine sincerity opens people’s hearts, while manipulation causes them to close.

No matter how much you care, the sentiment alone will not communicate itself. When your feelings are conveyed in words, your voice will have the immense power to move another person’s heart.

The heart of one person moves another’s. … If one’s own heart is closed, then the doors of other people’s hearts will also shut tight. On the other hand, someone who makes all those around him or her into allies, bathing them in the sunlight of spring, will be treasured by all.

It is much more valuable to look for the strengths in others-you gain nothing by criticizing people’s imperfections.

To commiserate with, to feel pity for, another falls short of genuine compassion. Understanding is key. People manage to draw the strength to carry on simply knowing that there is someone out there that understands them unconditionally.

You cannot judge the quality of another’s friendship by superficial appearances, especially when things are going smoothly. It is only when we have experienced the worst, most crushing of times-when we have plumbed the depths of life-that we can experience the joys of genuine friendship. Only a man of principle, a woman of resolve-a person who stays true to their chosen path-can be a trusted and true friend, and have real friends in turn.

People who come to your aid in a time of personal crisis are people of genuine compassion and courage. More often than not, people will try to act as though nothing is wrong. Others are either afraid or refuse to get involved, and quietly drift away.

Our voice resonates with life. Because this is so, it can touch the lives of others. The caring and compassion imbued in your voice finds passage to the listener’s soul, striking his or her heart and causing it to sing out; the human voice summons something profound from deep within, and can even compel a person into action.