Let Go Of Attachments In Life and In Trading


Simpler Trading Team

May 13th 2020  .  5 min read

Attachment can wreak havoc in life and in trading.

What’s something you covet most? You think about it all the time, you can’t live without it?

It doesn’t matter what it is, an idea, an object, or another human. You have to let go.

The stronger the attachment, the greater the destruction.

Joe Exotic exposed this for everyone to see. (“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” is a docuseries about the eccentric life of tiger breeder and zookeeper Joe Exotic. Self-isolation and binge-watching the show inspired John’s article.)

Joe’s iron-strong attachment to being a famous reality TV star left carnage in its wake.

Attachment, and the accompanying possessiveness, cause all sorrow and suffering. It’s a principle that hits hard when you face it.

Attachment is the true virus that infects all humanity, rich and poor alike.

Attachment can start early in life whether it’s a toy or a relationship, and can continue into adulthood with more relationships or in a professional setting.

The unchecked mind is always attaching itself to things, people, and outcomes (even losing trades). It creates bondage, enslaving us to particular ideas, other humans, things, and concepts. This leads to possessiveness. It’s the first step towards estrangement to that person, to that outcome, or to that object of attachment (or a failed trade setup that will blow out your account).

It is the law of nature, creating a never-ending cycle of disappointment and suffering.

This keeps a person complaining about the world around them. All the time. It’s always someone else’s fault. When we imprint our desires, we miss the true nature of things.

Attachment affects us as consumers.

“Tiger King” may be a mirror image of the behavior of consumers. Are we seeing what it’s like to be fodder for large corporate marketing departments.

Self-isolation has me questioning my pre-quarantine lifestyle.

Pre-COVID-19, I was a good consumer. Great, in fact. I bought the latest gadgets. I booked vacations. I went on business trips. My friends remarked, “Nice airline status, man.” I networked. I ate out. I shopped a lot on Amazon. My calendar burst with meetings and calls.

Forward progress was the name of the game. I was busy, busy, busy.


The treadmill has stopped, with many people forced to catch their collective breaths. At the same time. The Great Pause. This has never happened before in modern times.

We can’t go anywhere with stores shuttered, restaurants empty, venues locked down. No one is flying anywhere. When will this end? What is going to be the new normal?

In the meantime, I’m spending more time with my wife and kids. I’m exercising more. I’m walking. I’m trying to reduce my attachment to a future I can’t predict anyway. My material things seem silly when compared to my children’s health and safety. I’m not adding things to my calendar. Our credit card bills have dropped by 80%. We are filling our gas tank once a month instead of twice a week. The air is cleaner.

While parts of this situation are horrific, other parts are not so bad. In fact, they are better than before.

When we heard that the government was going to start opening up the economy again, my wife and I looked at each other. Mixed feelings!

Yes, of course we want things to start up again. People are suffering. We need to get things going.

But we both blurted out, “I don’t want to go back to the way it was.”

Who needs a frantic chain of non-essential activities; too busy to hang out as a family, quick hugs to the kids before bed; wake up and do the same thing all over again.

Right up until we are dead. Or thrown in prison (like Joe Exotic).

It’s been a crazy year so far. Lessons learned in India. Lessons from the Tiger King. An economy shut down due to quarantine.

A friend sent me a 3-minute clip of Alan Watts talking about life and comparing it to music. It struck a chord, no pun intended.

Is it as simple as waking up and getting off the treadmill… for good?

“But we missed the point the whole way along. It’s not about success or a journey or a serious purpose or getting to the end. It was a musical thing and we were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.”

As the toilet paper runs low, and we keep each other sane while in self-isolation, I’m thankful to Joe Exotic for showing us the extremes of human behavior.

Maybe it is through understanding the extremes, we can best understand that mere normal things can make us happy.

How to let go of attachments (in life and trading)?

Fire the arrow at your target, and leave the rest to God. (Or the universe, or whatever makes sense to you).

We Saw: markets tumble near 2% across the board – 

  • Airlines in crisis with stock losses
  • Fed warnings set off stock free fall
  • Markets down for three days in a row

We’re Watching: … continued chop and where it leads –

  • The 200 day Simple Moving Average
  • Algorithms searching for liquidity
  • Action in SPY, SPX, GOOGL, TSLA, AAPL