Empathic joy

Happier than if something great happened to me

Empathic joy is when a person derives pleasure from the good fortune of others. Sounds simple. Cleverly scalable too: why rate-limit your experiences of pleasure to the occurrences of your own good fortune, when you could theoretically bask in happiness whenever someone has a lucky break.

Yet there are myriad factors that make this simple, logical concept hard in practice. Scarcity is one that comes to mind – where one person’s gain implicates another’s loss. In many cases this holds true, and the inquiry can end there. We are the product of years of evolutionary efficiency gains.

But careful consideration could uncover pockets of abundance where scarcity might have been previously assumed, and therein lie veins of happiness to be tapped.

Sneaky peek

On my “off-days”, I occasionally like to pop into Work Chat to approximate (like a parallel timeline simulator) what I’d be up to were I still engaged in my prior role and capacity.

It’s a pointed reminder of things I’ve since moved on from, but more importantly, it sets a baseline for the things I am currently pursuing, and motivates me to do so with greater purpose and focus.

Finite steps, tangible results

Building a shed is a finite process with known steps that produces a tangible result. If you spend time on it, you will make forward progress and be able to see it.
If you are a knowledge worker, this is frequently lacking. […] And at the end of the day, what you accomplish might not be very visible or might end up being finished but useless.
So it’s nice to do something where you feel like you actually did something.

– saalweachter on Hacker News

This struck a chord for me in how neatly explains the uptick in my at-work satisfaction when I pivoted from management back into individual contribution.

The desire for finite steps and tangible results also looms over my investment practice. Coding up reports and executing trades – fun! Doing analysis, sitting on my hands waiting for a trade to materialise – less fun.

Yet it is in still-infinite and not-yet-intangible that the new, the wonderful and the profitable lay waiting to be uncovered.

Purging unused Mastodon accounts

I run my own Mastodon instance at isaacsu.com. (Not anymore) Over time, it accumulates avatar and header files of accounts that I do not care about in the live/public/system/accounts directory, and it gets quite large.

Here’s a Rails console script that I use to purge them every now and again. There’s one method unused_accounts that tries to assemble a whitelist of account_ids that I’ve ever interacted with and returns a list of accounts that are not them.

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