President’s Message March 2016

bliss The World Database of Happiness measures a country’s happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. Most countries score between 5 and 8. The United States ranks 22nd with a score of 7.3. The Dutch score is consistently higher, which could be because the Dutch earn oodles of vacation time, have job security, and receive free health care. Or, maybe it’s because they can visit coffee shops for drugs, the red-light district for you know what, and just love their cycling. No wonder we are not as happy in the United States—we can only cycle! Thank goodness for BTCNJ.
Don’t you feel happier every time you hop on your bike? It raises your happiness score to nearly 10. So the more you cycle, the higher your happiness. The BTCNJ Executive Committee is working behind the scenes to satisfy one of the club’s purposes: “promoting bicycle activities for the enjoyment (happiness) of the membership.” Please consider joining us at the many events planned for 2016. Volunteering is also known to raise your happiness, and BTCNJ has ample opportunities for you to get involved, help out, and meet fellow members.
It makes me happy to share some more interesting points on happiness from Eric Weiner’s book, The Geography of Bliss:
• Winning the lottery raises your happiness score, but you will probably return to your old level of happiness after a while. I doubt I would.
• The Swiss are happy because they have clean toilets, don’t provoke envy, and are even-keeled. Those cycling Andalusia, Spain, this year are going to be happy. It’s a nation of clean toilets.
• Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product.
• Costa Rica ranks first at 8.5. No wonder everyone who visits loves it.
• Tanzania ranks last at 2.5.
• Family, money, trust, friends, gratitude, chocolate, a good job, luxury, spirituality, good health, pleasure,
companionship, busyness, food, helping others, social contact, and a short commute all lead to happiness.

A quote from Eric Weiner’s book: “Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or verb. It’s a conjunction. Connective tissue.”

I enjoyed reading The Geography of Bliss; you might, too. The list of countries in the World Database of Happiness can be found at http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/nat_fp.php?mode=8&ranks=1