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No evidence quote on happiness from funnyman Jim Carrey

Has Jim Carrey, Canadian-American actor and comedian, waxed poetic about the secret to happiness?

According to a quote attributed to him in a 2020 Instagram post, his advice is: “I always feel happy, you know why? Because I don’t expect anything from anyone. Expectations always hurt. Life is short, so love your life, be happy. And keep smiling. Just live for yourself and before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you pray, forgive. Before you hurt, feel. Before you quit, try. Before you die, live.”

The words were familiar to us – Africa Check fact-checked the same quote in May 2019, but then it was falsely attributed to possibly the most famous playwright and poet in the English language, William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare and Carrey could hardly be less alike. But was Carrey the origin of these words? We investigated.

Part of quote from poem

When we previously fact-checked the quote, we found that the last part of it seems to have been lifted from the poem Before You by William Arthur Ward, a 20th century writer of inspirational proverbs.

In a 2017 red-carpet interview Jim Carrey answered a question about what happiness looked like for him. 

His answer was quite different to the widely shared quote: “I don’t think about it. No, no … Happiness is the weather, man. Happiness is about happenstance, it’s about what’s happening … So, you know, yeah, if you want to wait for something cool to happen to be happy that’s great, you know, you get sad when sad things happen, it’s all weather. I know I’m never going to be in a perpetual state of happiness, I’ve given that up, for sure …”

There is no evidence actor Jim Carrey ever said the words elsewhere wrongly attributed to Shakespeare. – Taryn Willows


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