Courtney Brock
6 min readJun 3, 2021


I have to disagree about one point. I'm not ready to let power hungry bastards win by redefining language originally used to mean the OPPOSITE. In the spirit of teaching, I want people to know what this really means, so next time it's used incorrectly they can shove it right in there face.

There's a personal reason I'm angry about this one. When I left teaching and changed careers, it was in Austin, TX about a decade ago. It was a really different place than it is today. And soon, the bajilion people who keep moving here because they've heard Austin's a land of opportunities, are going to feel very confused and lied to.

Austin taught me the meaning of a being part of a business community that operates on abundance, and it proved Covey's theory was right. Austin's going to prove him right again, just not the way in the way any of us wanted.

I moved here from the Northeast. The land of Wall Street and every gatekeeper imaginable. NYC is especially bad, but most places I'd been weren't all THAT different. Austin wasn't unique for being a blue puddle in the middle of TX. Every city is. Austin was unique because it's the only place I've ever seen abundance in the way Covey meant, be the assumed social norm.

These are some of the things that made Austin magic. Most of them are already gone, and I'm worried the rest will be too. Very soon.

* If you wanted to learn something new, make something big, or do anything at all really, there were only 3 rules. Show up, do the work, and be nice.

* Somewhere between 3-5 months of working somewhere, you'd know EVERYONE in your industry. Maybe not by name, but definitely by face. When someone new came to town, you'd introduce them to everyone who does the same thing (competitors included,) and never ask for anything in return.

* Competition wasn't seen as a threat. You learned from each other and made each other better.

* No gatekeeping allowed. It's not nice. If someone wanted to be part of something, you brought them in and let them prove what they're capable of. No name dropping or pedigree required.

* Communities were too tight for people to be dicks. That makes your good word and reputation currency.

* If you'd been lucky enough to become a respected industry leader, you gave back to the community that helped get you there. There's an entertainment lawyer in town that's nearly retired. Not just a leader in Austin, but all of TX. He was Willie Nelson's first rep. Now he keeps his schedule open on Wednesdays so young folks in music, movie, and video games can schedule a time for free advice. I had the joy of working with him once, and when someone with that kind of experience treats everyone as an equal, you get humble real fast.

* In 2010 my friend wanted to start an aerial troop and circus school. So her and a handful of friends did. A local theater let them use some of the outdoor space. They worked their day jobs for about a year and a half, while teaching and performing in the evenings and weekends. They grew into a legitimate school and business, and found enough community support to survive the pandemic. You couldn't start something like that anymore though.

* I think Austinites used to understand that there's an amount of money that really destroys things. We knew that everyone having a little less meant everyone had a lot more opportunities.

You'll often hear about Texan hate for Californians. It's not actually a liberal/conservative thing. Its mostly old Austinites complaining about the gradual and then rapid Bay Area colonization. When I got here, people didn't work 10-12 hours a day in the pursuit of never ending wealth. Life only cost so much, so you only needed so much. The extra money wasn't worth missing out on life.

Back then, I had this amazing 800sqft loft overlooking a pool for about $600/month. I made just enough to have a little emergency fund, and I was happy. I didn't have anyone to keep up. None of my friends lived any differently. Of course, some of them made pretty good money in tech, but you couldn't tell. I know a decent chunk of their expendable incomes quietly supported many of my friends dreams and a lot of really fun shit. I don't know who was responsible for what though, and that's the really lovely part.

And THAT's what living in an abundant society looked liked. If everyone takes a little bit less and shares a little bit more, there actually IS ENOUGH for everyone. It works!!! There once was a ton of small entrepreneurs with incomes pretty similar to teachers and nurses. Like my friends who started the circus school. I think they had at least 4 people piled in a 1k sqft house for YEARS to live comfortably. But that was normal. That's just how you did. I don't even know if the word entrepreneur is right. We used to have a ton of local businesses, working artists and musicians, and all sorts of other self employed folks. And those kind of businesses contribute A LOT to society. Having them means the money made in a community stays in the community so people live comfortably together. It means schools are better supported, nurses aren't over worked because supportive communities have healthier citizens. Small business at the community level actually promote social justice. A lot of people don't know thing, but you know the "Keep Austin Wierd" slogan? It came from our chamber of commerce and is actually about supporting small and local businesses.

It's not like there wasn't a lot of wealth in the city back then, but you couldn't feel it's oppressive, crushing weight. It was important to the city to make sure it's creative class and heartbeat could afford to live here and make Austin, well...Austin. You really could join a band, rent a house and stuff it with a couple extra people, work at book store, and have enough.

Of course people wanted to come here and live that way too. And a lot of them came here and bought right into it. But I learned how delicate of an ecosystem something like this is. It takes a large majority of people agreeing on the rules to maintain this kind of system. Start shifting it 15%, 20%, towards greed and gatekeepers and thats all it takes to poke holes in the foundation. It's pretty much crumbled now. There's barely enough for anyone anymore.

Now Austin looks exactly like this article. Austin's become afflicted SCARCITY. That's what this bullshit is. And it didn't have to be this way. It's wasn't a natural progression. People came here drooling and greedy, ready to make the city over for their own means. And certain powers that be were 100% on board. So I'm not gonna sit back and let some jackoff with a $2M downtown condo tell me about abundance. Not when they don't know what the word means.

I mean, I get that once a word has been ruined its hard to use. But for anyone still reading who doesn't know the original context:

"The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.

People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit - even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people - even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates. It's almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.

Although they may verbally express happiness for others' success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out. Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else's success, to some degree, means their failure. Only so many people can be "A" students; only one person can be "number one". To "win" simply means to "beat."

...It's difficult for people with a scarcity mentality to be members of a complimentary team. They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty.

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.

The Abundance Mentality takes...personal joy, satisfaction and fulfillment...and turns it outward, appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive nature of others. It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development, creating new Third Alternatives.

Public Victory does not mean victory over other people. It means success in effective interaction that brings mutually beneficial results to everyone involved. ...Public Victory is an outgrowth of the Abundance Mentality paradigm.

A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the Abundance Mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique, or lack of it, in human interaction."



Courtney Brock

Systems-Thinker, Human Dignity Advocate, Start-up Biz Ops, Armchair Economist, Tarot Reader & Esotericist, Maker, Dreamer, Invisible NFT OG, and Autistic AF