Happiness & Materialism

The recession may be actually positive for America.

I’ve have been shocked and beaten down from life. Life is unexpected twist of events that can alter our thinking and behavior. I wasn’t prepared to deal with my father death but, I had too. I wasn’t prepared for a lot of events in my life but, I conquered them and learned from it. I learnt that you can’t be too comfortable with your state of living don’t get too attached to how things are now. Don’t have that feeling run your life though, know it is okay to deal with challenges. Where would we be as people with some suffering? The pain and suffering make us who we are it shows us what is really important in life. Don’t have material items make your happiness they are only temporary feelings. The brain releases endorphin which makes you feel excited and happy. Your contentment should be able to do without ipods, and other material items. You see people in 3rd world countries living simple lives and happier than people with all the riches in the world. You’re sitting on a Persian silk rug until life rips that rug right from under you. I think a little suffering can help most people realize what they can do without with. Suffering cuts the middle man and goes straight to the source of the problem. You see in a different light and the whole entire world makes sense when you have what you need to survive. Western civilization is always about MORE MORE and MORE and wealth. We are so accustomed to living a certain way we forgot how we were when life was so simple. Thorstein Veblen’s book The Theory of the Leisure Class he spoke about Conspicuous consumption which means purchasing items to display wealth and a higher social class. The one of the ills of America is that we are obsessed with becoming rich and not working hard to achieve it. There is always a commercial on television about real estate gimmicks that will have you getting checks in the mail for thousands of dollars. I think this recession is one of the best things to happen to America because we need to be pushed to the edge a little to realize how we are overspending and not making good decisions. Times are hard in America not as hard as the citizens in Zimbabwe where the currency is almost worthless due to hyperinflation and they are printing out $100 trillion dollar bills. Companies are laying people off firing workers to save money. Businesses like Circuit City are closing down and people are now realizing we have a financial problem. This recession isn’t permanent and America will prevail but, this is a much needed waking up to the America.

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Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Lumina Foundation and Big Think have partnered to bring this entrepreneurial competition to life, and we hope you'll participate! We have narrowed down the competition to four finalists and will be announcing an audience's choice award and a judges' choice award in May.

The creator of the winning video — chosen by Big Think's audience, the Lumina Foundation, and an independent panel of experts (bios below) — will be flown to New York for a taping in the Big Think studio as a way to further promote their vision for a new, disruptive idea in post-secondary education.

Thank you to all of the contestants who spent time submitting applications, and best of luck to our final four competitors.

Finalist: Greater Commons - Todd McLeod

Greater Commons, founded by Todd McLeod and Andrew Cull, is an organization that helps people live happier, more successful and fulfilling lives through agile learning. The current education system is inefficient and exclusionary, in which many students who end up earning a degree, if at all, enter a career not related to their field of study. Greater Commons solves this problem and gap in post-high school secondary education in a variety of ways. Passionately and diligently, Great Commons helps others obtain skills, knowledge, wisdom, motivation, and inspiration so that they may live better lives.

Finalist: PeerFoward - Keith Frome

PeerForward is an organization dedicated to increasing the education and career success rates of students in low-income schools and communities by mobilizing the power of positive peer influence. PeerForward works with partner schools to select influential students as a part of a team, systemizing the "peer effect." Research in the fields of sociology of schools, social-emotional learning, adult-youth partnerships, and civic education demonstrates that students can have a positive effect on the academic outcomes of their peers. PeerForward is unique through its systemic solutions to post-secondary education.

Finalist: Cogniss - Leon Young

Cogniss combines technology and best practice knowledge to enable anyone to innovate and share solutions that advance lifelong learning. Cogniss is the only platform to integrate neuroscience, through which it solves the problem of access by providing a low-code platform that enables both developers and non-developers to build sophisticated education apps fast, and at a much lower cost. It addresses the uneven quality of edtech solutions by embedding research-based learning design into its software. App creators can choose from a rich set of artificial intelligence, game, social and data analytics, and gamification to build their perfect customized solution.

Finalist: Practera - Nikki James

Practera's mission is to create a world where everyone can learn through experience. Today's workplaces are increasingly dynamic and diverse, however, costly and time-consuming experiential learning is not always able to offer the right opportunities at scale. Many students graduate without developing the essential skills for their chosen career. Practera's team of educators and technologists see this problem as an opportunity to transform the educational experience landscape, through a CPL pedagogical framework and opportunities to apply students' strengths through active feedback.

Thank you to our judges!

Our expert judges are Lorna Davis, Dan Rosensweig, and Stuart Yasgur.

Lorna Davis is the Senior Advisor to Danone CEO and is a Global Ambassador for the B Corp movement. Lorna has now joined B-Lab, the non-for-profit that supports the B Corporation movement on an assignment to support the journey of large multi nationals on the path to using business as a force of good.

Dan Rosensweig joined Chegg in 2010 with a vision for transforming the popular textbook rental service into a leading provider of digital learning services for high school and college students. As Chairman and CEO of Chegg, Dan commits the company to fulfilling its mission of putting students first and helping them save time, save money and get smarter.

Stuart Yasgur leads Ashoka's Social Financial Services globally. At Ashoka, Stuart works with others to initiate efforts that have mobilized more than $500 million in funding for social entrepreneurs, engaged the G20 through the Toronto, Seoul and Los Cabos summits and helped form partnerships with leading financial institutions and corporations.

Again, thank you to our incredible expert judges.

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