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What can coaches learn from the outlandish Costa Rica!


Costa Rica did something so radical in 1948 that it would be considered radical even in 2020! How they did it is even more radical.


I outline the 5 principles of creativity that Costa Rica knowingly or unknowingly acted on that are also required for a mindful venture to be successful.


For those that consider themselves mindful entrepreneurs sitting on big ideas but doing zilch with them there is an opportunity for you at the end of this post.


This audacious example refers to how Costa Rica became the most peaceful country in the world according to numerous studies and polls.


What is even more remarkable is that Costa Rica defined itself as a peaceful state only a short time after a civil war broke out in 1948 that led to the death of over 2000 people.


Now, defining oneself as a peaceful country and actually achieving this utopian feat are two different things.


These 5 principles can be implemented by anyone who wishes to create a business or venture that also has an altruistic goal to make the world a better place.



Principle number 1, Focus

Costa Rica focused on what it wanted in its heart, which was peace! Hence, it defined itself as a peaceful state. Their hearts were in the right place, but it would not guarantee their hearts desire until their minds followed suit.


You would think that focusing on the end goal that people, countries or organisations want to achieve would be straight forward. But, the truth is that if you ask people what they want, a large majority of people will tell you what they don’t want. They haven’t ever given themselves permission to really ask themselves “What do we/I truly want?”


You can just imagine the resistance to this lofty ideology considering the notion for peace that the president had suggested which was outlandish to say the least!


You see if a person or entity does not define a positive outcome, the mind defaults back to old negative unconscious patterns. A negative vision is formed, as opposed to a positive one.

For example, as there had just been a civil war in Costa Rica, the default mind would have said “We just don’t want any more wars”


You see the mind doesn’t understand negation. So it always creates the image you give it. Whether that be war or peace! Avoiding war would just reinforce the negative.


So what business do you want to create that acts as a vehicle of change in the world?


Also, what is your default focus of your mind if you do not focus it on a positive intention?


Because, everything that you have created in your life that you are not a fan of, is as a result of a negative focus!


Focus refers to the end result of what you want to create not the process.


Principle 2, Current Reality.

Taking stock of one’s current situation or reality is easier said than done. This is because an honest, unbiased look at one’s current plight can bring up a lot of difficult emotions. And we live in a society that encourages us to avoid that which is painful. Honesty hurts, hence why it is avoided or skewed at all cost.


It is critical to be honest about one’s current situation because it allows you to recognise the place from which you are beginning your pursuit. Without being honest about where you are, the charge of the current situation has not been neutralised and always has the threat of pulling you back into the unconscious mess.


Costa Rica had all the reasons to avoid an honest look at their current situation. After all, what could be more painful than to have just come out of a civil war! The country was tender and on high alert.


Yet the real mark of bravery is to look the problem in its eyes. And this is what Costa Rica did. They clearly acknowledged the civil war and the devastation it had caused. Without which, I doubt they would have been able to decide on an end goal of peace.


If any country honestly looks at war, it tends to cause destruction and trauma and not a lot more. If this was looked at with honest eyes, like Costa Rica did, the end result of peace would be the only desire. The fact that many countries keep waging war as an answer to “peace” says that they have never truly engaged in the current reality of what cost war truly represents.


Costa Rica was definitely an anomaly in taking an honest look at itself.


Relative to the end result of what you want to create, as defined within principle one, what is the current reality that you find yourself in?


If you are really objective, what positives and negatives do you see?


Remember, with this exercise, you may find yourself feeling rather uncomfortable due to the difficult emotions arising, This is entirely normal. If anything, fessing up now will save you from sabotaging the end result.


Principle 3, unconscious beliefs and perception

Once Costa Rica had a good hard look at itself, it was able to create an honest account of the present situation and truly declare the end result it wanted for itself.


Now once this was done, Costa Rica had to be very vigilant of it’s unconscious tendencies. Its habitual ways of perceiving the situation and its default behaviours. Without which, unconsciously it would end up living out its old ways.


One such old belief that is ingrained into virtually every sovereign state is that the might of the military is required to instil peace in a country. To have to use brutality to create peace sounds like an oxymoron to me, but such is the deeply held contradiction that most countries only see this as the only viable way to create “peace”.


There is a quote that says, ‘Peace through strength’. Yet Costa Rica instilled the new belief and motto of, ‘Strength through peace’.


We have to become aware of unconscious beliefs and emotions if we are to avoid unconsciously creating the results that we have always created.


When the unconscious tendencies are not bought out from the shadow into the light, they end up ruling us and creating more of the past. Every entity, whether that be a country or a person has a sense of identity. For most people and countries, strength is perceived as the ability to fight! But this is not true. It is only an unconscious perception, not fact.


Another example is the belief of, ‘we/I must retaliate if there is an attack or imminent threat’. Yet the willingness to have awareness of these default perceptions, allowed Costa Rica to choose conflict management and negotiation tactics, as opposed to defaulting to military strategies.


So, what are the unconscious beliefs and emotions that tend to get you to sabotage the good hearty end results that you had intended?


If you really pay attention you will recognise there are one or two default patterns that you fall back on. What are they?


And just a tip, these unconscious beliefs benefit you in some twisted way, hence why you let them play out. It’s just a case of identifying them and not requiring them to fortify your sense of self.


Principle 4, Creative actions (intuition)

Costa Rica is most famous for the strategy that it deployed in finding peace. If you had asked other countries at the time and even to this day, they would say that this action makes no sense.


This infamous action was to demilitarise Costa Rica. The army was dismantled in its entirety.


Most other nations would argue that this would be a recipe for disaster, because it would literally invite threats from enemies. Yet Costa Rica has largely proven this belief as unfounded. As it has mostly maintained its status as a peaceful state.


Therefore, if one were to take a logical action, then one would probably not advise or resort to such a drastic measure. But, the action has been a resounding success for Costa Rica.


It has managed to funnel these resources into other arena’s, including free health care, free education for all and a welfare system that takes care of those that are genuinely in need.


The channelling of these resources has meant that the country has been awarded the title of, ‘the most efficient economy’. It basically maximises the use of its resources to make sure as many people as possible benefit from the resources available in the country.


My reason for defining this principle as creative action or intuition is because to the outsider it makes no sense to take this action yet it works like a treat for the manifestation of the intended end result.


This intuition means that when our minds are focused on the end result, it will often throw up surprising, creative solutions to achieve the result.


Yet if you are using the mind that has not yet created this desired result, it will only give you suggestions that are equal to what it knows or has already enacted.


Yet an uncharted end result requires a, ‘new mind’, which I refer to as intuitive nudges or creative impulses. But, the problem is that most people or organisations are not brave enough to act on their gut. Costa Rica definitely enacted this intuition by disbanding their army.


This famous saying sums up what Costa Rican society has embodied about the idea of not having a military. “Blessed is the Costa Rican mother who knows her son at birth will never be a soldier”.


People are very quick to abandon their intuitive path because it is often untried and unknown, in favour of the familiar that has been laid out by those who came before. But if you want to create something new, it requires creative intuitive actions that spring from a new perception. Just ask some of the most successful people in the world. They will attribute a strong intuition to creating the results they wanted.


Creativity, the domain from which intuition springs is defined as the ability to see relationships where there were none. And this is exactly the ‘illogical’ connection that the Costa Rican government made between dismantling the military and achieving peace, when the prevailing sentiment was that peace comes from being able to defend oneself through might.


So ask yourself, what intuitive actions have you not taken because they didn’t make sense to your rational mind? And what end results have been sacrificed because you didn’t take up these intuitive invitations?


It’s time to deploy that creative spirit, as opposed to cookie cutter one size fits all business practices that make you lose the will to live!


Principle 5, completion

Any creative act is not deemed complete until the intended creation has been created. Therefore, the real measure of the success for the intended intention is to see if the mission was completed. No military pun intended.


And in the case of Costa Rica, nearly 70 years on from declaring itself as a peaceful state, it has regularly maintained its place amongst the happiest countries in a variety of credible polls and surveys.


Costa Rica is known for punching above its weight in terms for happiness relative to economic prosperity.


Also, the country has been voted the greenest country in the world and a whole host of other awards that have been the byproduct of intending for peace, as opposed to just intending for no more wars and military escalation.


So over to you now, what life changing business or initiative are you holding back on that if launched into the world would make a tangible difference to the fabric of society?




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