What Happens in Croatia When Mindset Goes from Default Negative to Opportunity Positive?

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May 27, 2020 – We are partially conditioned by our environment. So what happens when we exchange Croatia’s default negative mindset for opportunity positive?

I had the most amazing day yesterday, and it was far from the main Croatian tourist hot spots. 

A small village near Solin, one of the Kastelas and a small village called Vrana.

Although a little tourism was involved, the reason I visited these places on my way from Hvar to Zagreb was to meet three people who lived there and had one thing in common – a positive mindset. And they are also key players in the team being assembled for Croatia 2.0. 

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First up, Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who has been running successful businesses in Croatia since 2006. 

Jan has a large following on LinkedIn and he has been in the media a lot recently. A true Croatian patriot despite his Dutch roots, Jan sees opportunity in Croatia whereas others only see emigration. We talked digital nomads for a while and he told me about a couple of ideas he is working on. One thing I like about hanging around with successful people is seeing how easy things can be, as well as being inspired to see how I could implement those ideas in my approach to life here. 

Great to see you, Sir, and to finally meet the lovely Slavica. 

A great start to the day. 

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Next up, Making Kastela Bench Tourism Great Again with Feliks Lukas, who is fast becoming one of my favourite people in Croatia. I can’t hang out with him too much, as I would spend the day laughing and get nothing done. 

Feliks is best known perhaps for bringing the only WTA tennis tournament to an island, even more impressive, outside of peak season. The Bol Open has been a great success, and it was only after spending a little time with his that I realised that this is just a fraction of what Feliks does. 

I will write about it soon, but Feliks managed to pull off the most amazing project for Kastela during the lockdown, a true example of creative thinking in the new Croatia 2.0. 

Passionate about his native Kastela, Feliks was not going to let me go with just a chat and bench photo shoot, and he took me on a tour of the Kastela I had never seen, including this gem above. 

Default negative mindset? In this amazing country? With some stimulating and positive people?

Surely the day could not get any better?

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Not only could it get better, but it did. 

Next up, a visit to Vrana near Biograd na Moru, to meet the digital nomad pioneer in Croatia (at least I think so), Tanja Polegubic.

A really great exchange of ideas and planned cooperation on some Croatia 2.0 ideas, and then a tour of the wonderful setting we found ourselves in. 

The westernmost example of Ottoman architecture in Europe, apparently, meet Maskovica Han. Absolutely stunning! As is its surroundings, right next to Vrana Lake. 

Such incredible treasure on the Road Less Travelled in rural Croatia. 

And there was plenty of confirmation that I was off the beaten track. 

Last year I wrote an article called The 3 Stages of Learning for Foreigners in Croatia: Love, Hate & Nirvana.

I am finally at the nirvana stage with my relationship with Croatia. And the shortcut formula to get there (if you want to save the 15 years it took me to figure things out) is simple – accept the things you cannot change and surround yourself with positive people. 

People like Jan, Feliks and Tanja. 

That’s it. 

I guess I might have a more default negative mindset if I spent all day as a keyboard warrior fighting HDZ v SDP battles, ustasa v parizani, di si bio u ’91?

But hell, the sun was shining, I thought I would give opportunity positive a try, rather than default negative. And you know what?

It works. 

I recently presented a concept called CROMADS: Why You Should Move to Croatia, With or Without Uhljebistan.

I was surprised at the lack of negative comments (for a change) and very encouraged by so many positive comments. 

Among the things I said in the article is that I now approach Uhljebistan much as a Norwegian drinker and smoker approaches cigarettes there. Norway is a great country to live in, but man, the fags and booze are expensive. But, he reasons over a 10 euro beer, the cigarette and alcohol tax is worth paying to live in Norway. 

I feel the same way about Uhljebistan. Rather than being depressed and frustrated, I accept that one of the downsides of life here – as with expensive beer and cigarettes in Norway – is that I have to pay an ‘Uhljeb tax’ in order to live in the most beautiful country in Europe, and one with the very best lifestyle. 

And you know what? As soon as you get into that mindset, Croatia really is the most incredible place to life. Surrounding yourself with positive people who want to achieve things and make Croatia better place motivates you to do better as well. 

So what was the reaction to a little opportunity positive rather than default negative? Some reader comments:

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Imagine what might start to happen to the default negative Croatian mindset if we started to change the environment to arguing about Tito and Pavelic in favour of celebrating the MANY success stories? This positivity might just catch on. 

There are only two main problems with Croatia in my opinion – the system and the mindset. Pay your uhljeb tax and then bypass the system by creating a Croatia 2.0 reality which will inspire local people to change their mindset as well as creating jobs. Uhljebistan will implode sooner rather than later – the viruses of transparency and technology are impossible to fight if you do not have immunity. 

Did I say jobs? That Dutch serial entrepreneur again. 

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And if Croatia really wanted to build a proper tourism strategy, build it around its two best jewels in the new reality – safety and lifestyle. 

If you are interested in a better future for Croatia and would like to get involved in Croatia 2.0, please contact me (email ONLY please, am drowning in messages at the moment), Subject Croatia 2.0 with a short para about you and how you can contribute to [email protected] 


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