A very close relative of mine just relocated to Sri Lanka because the quality of life there is better for that person. Sri Lanka is of course a place that has had a war type situation for the last 20 years or so. Granted, it is not widespread, mostly limited to the north, but still, how can a place that has a freakin' WAR/armed conflict going on be better than the most productive & one of the wealthiest, most free, and safest countries on the history of this planet; the US of A? I guess it all depends on what you use as your criteria to figure out which place provides a better quality of life. Living in Sri Lanka is certainly far cheaper. A person can live comfortably in Sri Lanka for about $200 a month. That's right, two hundred dollars a month. And if you are from that culture or immersed in that culture and a big fan of it, then there is probably no place better.
ONE POSSIBLE PROBLEM WITH SUCCESS
Living in a functional, successful place (most of US for example) surrounded by very productive people can have a positive effect on you: can make you more productive, play by the rules/rule of law, etc. On the down side, you may be driven to work way too much in order to maintain a lifestyle that is not completely necessary, in all of its trappings. Although I've never had a problem with that and have chosen quality of life & happiness (being able to make films, watch a lot of films, hang with friends, do stuff to help other people out) over working as much as possible and over making as much money as possible, since about 19 or so, I can see how people can get caught up in the tremendous amount of opportunity to work & earn money, & the constant push to buy shiny new stuff, in the US & then grow tired of the "rat race" & not be able to feel much joy in living & working here.
HOW TO ENJOY LIVING & WORKING IN AMERICA
One - Figure out what you like to do (legal stuff that is :), and work in time every week to do those things - gardening, bowlng, making movies, roadside surgery (that's a Tom Waits reference for all you Waits fans out there :), volunteering, reading, checking out art, whatever that makes you happy.
Two - Don't buy stuff & services unless you absolutely need them. Save yer money. Having a lot of savings will give you more freedom to do the fun things that you like to do & work less. And investing those savings wisely will help you get rich. If you save $3 a day, by the end of the year, you will have saved over $1000! So have one less Starbucks coffee every day & put the $s in yer savings account at the end of the week.
Three - This country (& specially the film industry) is famous for its long work hours and short vacations. Have a limit to the amount of work that you do every day/week/year. Make your rest time as essential as your work time - because it is; unhappy & or unhealthy due to lack of rest people tend not be very productive.
Four - Use other stuff, besides the amount of money you earn/have or the latest gadget that you own, as your primary sources of happiness. They could be obvious things as being glad that you are alive & healthy & observing the beautiful things in this world, the significant other, family & friends, appreciating the hawk in the Kazakhstani flag, that lovely park near your house, whatever, good things that do not cost a lot of money.
Five - Happiness is a cultivated skill. You don't necessary need anything special to happen in order to be happy & content. Even under very difficult circumstances some people can be happy. So try to be happy as a matter of habit, unrelated to things that may or may not happen day by day.
Those are just a few ideas. If you have more, add them to the Comments. Thanks & good luck being happy & productive wherever you are. Actually, being happy is slightly more important than being productive (even though the two things are closely linked for many people), so, good luck with being happy & maintaining a high quality of life wherever you are. Happiness & a high quality of life is definitely possible for many, specially in the "first world", & in much of the rest of the world too - if you focus on the right things.