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Do You Live in One of the Happiest Places in the World?

Where are the happiest places in the world to live? Norway has jumped to first place this year, with Denmark in second, Iceland in third and Switzerland in fourth. After this are Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. This comes according to the latest World Happiness Report that was released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN.

The US came in 14th, Germany was in 16th and the UK hit the 19th spot. Japan was in the 51st spot while China was in the 79th place.

What were the key measurements that made up the report? Real gross domestic product per capita was one measurement, another was generosity. Other measurements included a healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and having someone to count on. As explained by Jeffrey Sachs, the report’s co-editor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University,

“The World Happiness Report continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people — their well-being. As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact.”

The report also focused on happiness in the workplace. As Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, co-author of the report chapter on happiness at work explained, “There is a clear distinction in happiness between white and blue collar jobs with managers or professionals evaluating the quality of their lives at a much higher level than those in manual labor jobs even controlling for any possible confounding factors.”

Interestingly, the report found that the single biggest cause of misery in rich countries was mental illness.

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Enjoying the Work/Life Balance

We can all learn something from Peter Muller and the recent decisions that he’s made. As one of Wall Street’s best quant traders, Peter Muller should be working hard. After working incredibly hard for years, Muller decided in 1999 that he needed a break and he went on a sabbatical.

As he told Business Insider, “I became enormously successful, but I wasn’t as happy or fulfilled.” He travelled the world and used his incredible musical talent as a pianist.

When he returned, he managed to find that work/life balance that is elusive to so many. He told Morgan Stanley that he needed room in his life for music as well as business. As he said,

“I took a big step back. And I figured, I’m going to pursue music… I recorded a couple of albums, and I became executive chairman of the group that I built. And I realized that I needed both [music and work] – they both feed and influence the other.”

He’s been performing with his band at least once a month for the last nine years. And while he has a “crazy, busy life” he manages to perform at least once a month and to give the money to charity.

Here is a sample of his work:

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3 Ways to Have a Successful Day

More than we could probably ever read in a lifetime has been written about how to be successful and what makes for success. This short list from Prevention.com, however, is unique and interesting for a few reasons. It’s quite short and offers concrete activities at a focused time. They found that successful and wealthy people do three main things when they get up in the morning, before even having breakfast.

Maybe they will make a difference for you, too.

The things are:

* Make that to-do list: Yes, before they even have their coffee, they make their to-do list and set their goals for the day. They detail tasks that need to get done and deadlines that need to be met – and they tick them off throughout the day.

* Turn on the music: This is interesting. They listen to uplifting playlists and enjoy this energy for their morning commute or at home before they head to the office.

* Get the mantra right: They read inspirational quotes and mantras from others to light that fire that they need for the day.
None of these ideas take very long and they don’t require too much brainpower. Try it. You just might like it.

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Creative Ways to Say I Love You on Valentine’s Day

It’s not always easy to come up with something creative to do for that loved one on Valentine’s Day. Here are some great ideas…many of which won’t break the bank! Have a great day with your loved one and be creative.

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Ode to the Inventor of Pac-Man

For those of you who love Pac-Man, today is a sad day. And that’s because Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco, has died. Namco is the Japanese company started in 1955 that that was responsible for Pac-Man.

Pac-Man was designed by the video game engineer Toru Iwatani and first came to the market in 1980. It was named, by Guinness World Records, as the world’s most successful coin-operated video game.  The company has actually estimated that Pac-Man has been played more than 10 billion times.

The spin-offs of Pac-Man have been never-ending. Pac-Man has been adapted for cell phones and Nintendo, for Xbox and PlayStation, for animated films, for TV series and for loads of merchandise.

And where did Pac-Mac’s classic design start? According to Bandai Namco, it was inspired by none other than pizza. The name comes from the Japanese phrase that describes the Pac-Man eating the dots. It’s called “paku paku” and from that we got Pac-Man.

 

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Enhanced Quality of Life in New York

People are always trying to either maintain or enhance their quality of life.  There are various related industries in this including: culture, home, wellness and more.  In this article we examine a few of them.

Culture

New York has always been a great home to high-end culture.  Now, that is about to be taken to the next level especially for book lovers.  The plan is for Amazon to open its very first New York bookstore close to Central Park.  Located at The Shops at Columbus Circle, this upscale midtown shopping mall features other chic retailers including Coach, Eileen Fisher, First Republic Bank and J. Crew to name but a few.  The store is due to measure 4,000 square feet and anticipated opening is set for some time in the spring of 2017.

Home Renovations

Rocco Basile

Rocco Basile

Another way quality of life can improve is by making home renovations. Many people are gearing their renovations towards state of the art sustainable living with the guidance of experts like Rocco Basile’s Avo Construction company.  Located in Tribeca, the company helps its New York based clients create their dream house. Basile’s firm focuses on two key areas in this. These include ground-up construction which includes coordinating with architects, engineers and designers as well as the client, and high-end interiors with a specialized team which examines the function of a space and works one-on-one with the individual client to achieve the desired result.  As Rocco Basile points out: “We’re very involved in the construction process with our clients.  We are very hands on with our architects, engineers and clients to ensure that we create the best space possible.”

Fitness

And then there are the exclusive fitness centers such as 305 Fitness.  Inspired by the music and culture of Miami (hence the 305) this brand of boutique gyms were only founded a couple of years ago by Sadie Kurzban, but since their launch in 2014, two have come to New York. People in the midtown or West Village neighborhoods can work-out in style at these centers with instructors such as Columbia University graduate Deaton (The 305 Kween) or former Philadelphia 76ers NBA Dance Team member Naimah (The Lipstick Sergeant) to name but a few of the impressive instructors.

Parts of New York have always been high-brow. That trend seems to be continuing in a positive way with the help of the right stores, work-out facilities, construction companies like Avo Construction and so many others.

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