Can ‘Tiger King’ Reveal Life, Trading Lessons?


Simpler Trading Team

Apr 15th 2020  .  4 min read

From John Carter, Founder of Simpler Trading

While people around the globe huddled at home, wondering if humanity was about to get wiped out by a virus, a ray of light appeared on the horizon.

“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a docuseries about the eccentric life of tiger breeder and zookeeper Joe Exotic, took the world by storm.

The timing was perfect.

The spread of COVID-19 has shaken everyone to their core, turning many worlds upside down. Locked inside, some people are going stir crazy. Others worry about their loved ones, or their financial future.

Times are daunting at best.

But compared to the train wreck that is Joe Exotic’s life, “Tiger King” exposed the human experience in a revealing light.

Many of us aren’t worried about how we’ll feed 177 grown tigers if Walmart runs out of expired meat. No one is trying to rub sardine oil on our shoes in a bid to get us killed by a big cat. Last I checked, I still have all my teeth. My business partners (as far as I know) aren’t informants for the FBI.

Life, compared to Joe, is good.

We’re trying to avoid the virus, pay our mortgage. And, in the back of our minds, wondering if we’ll have the courage to use our left hand when we run out of toilet paper.

Like many people, my life has changed quite a bit since the beginning of 2020.

One of my main roles in life is founder of Simpler Trading. In January, we took the team of 50 and their plus 1’s to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate a great 2019. In February, my wife and I went to India to spend a week at Vedanta World, studying “Ancient wisdom for modern times.”

Then, in March, reality started to change.

We canceled our family spring break trip to Grand Cayman the day of our flight. We issued work from home orders for our team of 50, switching over to a virtual environment. We moved to the country outside of Austin, TX, to better self-isolate and telecommute if needed. We canceled our travel through June, hunkering down with our kids. We waited to see what would happen next.

The news was dire. Online arguments exploded. Toilet paper had vanished. Eggs were a luxury item. The stress started to take its toll with so many forced into working from home.

Is this the end game?

And then we watched “Tiger King” — with our kids.

To be fair, our 10-year-old opted out after the first 15 minutes — “Dad, this is stupid and gross. I’m going to play Xbox.”

Fair enough and a wise choice, as there are things in “Tiger King” that can’t be unseen.

For the rest of us? We hung on, fascinated.

I started to make notes on my own reactions to the events, as well as the comments shouted out by my kids:

“Dude, a lot can go wrong when you hold onto a grudge that hard.”

“Bruh, Carol is an evil hypocrite. And she totally did it.”

“I’m never trying meth.”

I sat mesmerized, as if I were watching a great white shark’s stomach slit open. My brain flowed with recent insights gained studying the “Bhagavad Gita.” In this state of mind, I wrestled with the new found knowledge emitting from my TV screen.

It’s hard to summarize our week in India with a few sentences, but I’ll give it a shot.

The learning stems from the eternal principles of life and living. There is a focus on taking action in the world while maintaining mental peace. The ultimate goal being self-realization.

It was a fascinating study of desire and attachment. And how the pressure of new desires never ceases until we find our original “self.”

It was in this blissful state of mind that I slid down the rabbit hole of Joe Exotic. I watched in horror as his story unfolded before my eyes. I’ll be sharing my top takeaways…

(This article is an excerpt from a piece written by John Carter and will be presented over the next several weeks. Watch for John’s insightful takeaways on Wednesdays.)

Today in the markets:

We Saw: shock from widespread effect of downturn — 

  • Tuesday’s gains erased with all indexes falling
  • Retail carnage exposed in declining sales
  • Manufacturing production plummets to record low

We’re Watching: … mixed market movement for potential gains —

  • Index that technically looks strong…
  • …but historical data indicates sharp reversal
  • Last week’s signals that showed coming test toward lows

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