Empathy burnout (Ricky Weekly #74)
This is where I share 3 things every week with my friends and anyone else interested.
A picture from my life:
Last night my high school friends texted to get dinner so we did. The excuse was my birthday last week. We’re so busy it felt nice to just be kind of spontaneous. Divisadero was poppin’ and we didn’t have reservations, so we put our name down at 3 different places and found a bar to kill time over drinks. I love killing time with people I love.
A thing on my mind:
Recently a friend introduced me to the idea of “empathy burnout.” It’s a wonderful concept that got me thinking more explicitly about how much you can carry emotionally before you keel over. I realized that even though I value honesty and constantly want to connect with people, I often don’t have the capacity to do it well. I find myself fighting my own empath in social situations to stop myself from soaking up someone else’s feelings. I don’t think it’s obvious, it’s not like I all of sudden stop talking and turn into a robot, but there’s definitely an internal dialogue of me telling me myself, “I know you want to care, but you can’t afford to.” I’m not always able to defeat the empath, which I guess makes me human. I think this is why I like being alone and why I’ve surrounded myself with introverts who won’t force me to care. I think it’s also why I have friended people with big, ginormous hearts who seem to have infinite capacity to care, at least about me, for what feels like all the time.
I can’t find the Twitter thread, but someone on there was talking about "less oft-discussed” kinds of privilege. One of the tweets said “being sociable” is a privilege, which is probably the case in most realms and being an empath helps with that. But it depends on the realm. As a businessman, I sometimes have to turn off my empathy receptors and blunt my sensitivity to people, or at least try to develop a bigger rational brain to help regulate it all. Emotional management is a difficult skill to master, and harder if you easily soak up others’ emotions.
A piece of content I recommend:
Bill Gurley and Philip Rosedale - Back to the Future on Invest Like the Best, Ep. 254
I loved this conversation because it puts all the Web3 and metaverse buzz in perspective. Philip Rosedale is the founder of Second Life, a virtual world founded in 1999 with a million users today and an economy that does $650M in transactions a year since 2008. You don’t really have to look in the future to find a version of the metaverse, and you don’t have to squint to try to imagine what Oculus, Fortnite, Minecraft and Bored Ape Yacht Club could turn into. You can just look at Second Life to glean some insights.
Second Life expanded the money supply as new users joined and freely traded against the dollar and euro, which means they didn’t leverage speculation to attract people.
Second Life users are pretty fringe kind of people in real life, but seem to have found the virtual world meaningful for them.
Roblox and Minecraft have simpler mechanics and primitives, which increases participation rate, but while simpler mechanics are fine for kids, adults seem to want more realism?
The metaverse may start out looking more like audio-only products like Clubhouse, or community spaces like Discord…and I might add, something like Flow Club with simpler but very human mechanics and a more explicit reason for its existence?
As always, you can find out what I’m thinking in more real-time on Twitter and my essays are on my website. My primary focus (and where I focus) is on Flow Club. We are hiring and offering a $10k referral bonus + VIP tickets to SFJAZZ or Sacramento Kings game.