Is there a common English proverb, or maxim which means happiness won't come unless you work hard?

Looking online for idioms about happiness, I found several resources but they only speak about the degree of happiness; e.g. on cloud nine, jump for joy, and over the moon. Whereas the website Special Dictionary has a list of proverbs about happiness, they are not English ones. The closest I found was Finnish.

  • Happiness does not come from happiness itself, but from the journey towards achieving it.

I have come up with three versions, but are they idiomatic?

  1. Happiness only comes through hard work.
  2. You'll never be happy unless you work hard.
  3. You will not get happiness without doing hard work.

Is there a well-known proverb I can use instead?

  • 1
    If you have the equivalent proverb in your native language, it's always a good idea to add that in your question. I also think the question, as it now stands, lacks detail. Why are you looking for a proverb? Can you explain the situation that requires the need for one? Would you be equally happy with an idiom, or idiomatic phrase?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 8:58
  • 1
    Take a look at this person's question. If you can achieve the same kind of detail, people on EL&U will look more favourably on it english.stackexchange.com/questions/177634/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 9:01
  • 1
    Relevant quotes are: “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” _ Franklin D. Roosevelt // “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” _ Benjamin Disraeli // “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” _ Andy Rooney. // “The grass is always greener where you water it.” [anonymous] [Positivity Blog] But they're hardly of proverb status. Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 10:05
  • @Mari-LouA Thank you very much for your edition, my native language is Nepali and I searched for the proverb in silentcsanj.blogspot.co.ke/2015/04/… and found No pains, no gains— dukha nagari sukha painna . Is it commonly used proverb for what I'm searching for ?
    – yubraj
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 12:31
  • I hope for your further edition of my question.
    – yubraj
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


My partner studied Latin in high school and offers this:

Per aspera ad astra

I did not care for any of the English translations I found. However, in es.wikipedia.org, I found a nice Spanish version, A través del esfuerzo, el triunfo, which I will translate as

Through effort comes triumph.

If you want to say this after a long, satisfying meeting of your study group, for example, I would recommend sharing it with both the Latin and the English versions, e.g.

"There is a Latin proverb that goes Per aspera ad astra, which means, 'Through effort comes triumph.' "

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