Make This The Year You Stop Caring
The Lund Loop: Strategies, setups, and insights for active traders and investors.
To get this newsletter, as well as daily charts and market commentary, delivered directly to your inbox, join over 5,000 other active traders and investors by subscribing to the Lund Loop.
After going dark in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year we got back in the swing of things and hosted twenty fully vaccinated friends and family members at our house on Christmas Eve.
Within a week 70 percent of them tested positive for Covid.
Don’t worry, they all survived and should now have some sweet anti-bodies.
By all accounts, the pre-contagion event was a success, though at one point a spirited conversation during dinner threatened to derail the bountiful tidings of comfort and joy.
The subject of the conversation was a mutual friend of all of those in attendance, one who has a long and sorted history of screwing people over. Two camps formed, one convinced that he was a “bad seed” and the other arguing that at heart he was a decent person with good intentions.
A sort of loveable fuck up.
As the fray escalated, I just sat there at the end of the table, watching and - uncharacteristically for me – remaining silent.
Finally, after what seemed like an hour’s worth of back and forth, someone turned to me and asked me what my opinion was on this thoroughly inconsequential person?
“Who cares?” was my answer.
I’m not very good about keeping New Year’s resolutions. In my experience, the best of them usually has a shelf life of about 5-7 days after the champagne and streamers are gone.
Most are stillborn, dying in mentis, never having progressed past the wishful thinking stage.
But last year was different.
On January 1st, I sat down with pen and highlighter in hand and opened up a crisp new copy of The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and The Art of Living, promising myself that I would read and annotate a page per day.
And what do you know, I did just that.
This is my most recent foray in an ongoing exploration of Stoicism that I began a few years ago, one that’s been particularly rewarding.
There are many layers to Stoicism and though to the uninitiated it may seem a rather monolithic philosophy, in fact, it’s full of subtleties and nuances.
However, the essence of Stoicism can be distilled down to two sentences in the very first day’s meditation.
The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not.
“What do you mean you don’t care” asked my sister-in-law.
“I don’t care,” I repeated, leaning back in my chair and taking a purposefully pretentious pull from a fine Belgium Saison.
And I really don’t.
Is he truly a bad seed or just a misunderstood misfit?
I don’t know. I don’t care.
It doesn’t matter to me because the emotional and financial damage he leaves in his wake is the same no matter what the root cause.
I know I have no influence over him. I can’t change him. So, all I really care about is avoiding any scenario in which his actions can impact me or my family.
Not caring is liberating. It’s freeing.
To stop agonizing over the “why” and just concern myself with the “what.”
The “why” in everyday life is almost always unknowable and invariably wrong when we try to identify it.
And in most cases, it doesn’t matter anyway.
In its time, ancient Greece was an advanced civilization - and the birthplace of Stoicism.
The Greeks brought the world its first democracy. They took the scientific approach to studying medicine and diseases. They invented the rules for Geometry and other mathematics and developed philosophies designed to search for truth and wisdom.
They also thought that the sun rose and set because Apollo carried it across the sky in a golden chariot driven by a team of fiery horses.
Yet even though they got the “why” totally wrong, it didn’t matter.
The cycles of the sun still signaled the start of the day for the farmer and the night watch.
The sundials were still accurate even without an understanding of planets, stars, solar systems, and the Earth’s rotation on its axis.
Another valuable, though unexpected, benefit of my Stoic studies is how it has reinforced my long-held, but not always acted upon, beliefs about trading and investing.
That I don’t have to care why last year’s favorite growth stock is now tanking. All I have to know is that it broke below a trendline, a moving average, or support level.
That I don’t have to stress myself out trying to decide if the jobs numbers, the Fed statement, or the latest developments concerning the pandemic are good or bad for the market. All I have to do is pay attention to price action.
That I don’t have to take a position on the future of crypto, the merits of Cathie Wood’s investment philosophy, or if Apple is overvalued at a $3 trillion market cap.
All I have to do is care about myself and what I do.
Far from being selfish, not caring is self-caring.
It’s a generous gift you give yourself that helps to conserve your most precious resources - time, money, energy, attention, and health, both physical and mental.
So that you don’t waste them on people, things, and situations you have no control over.
So that they are there in reserve to lavish on those things that do matter, like family, friends, causes, and community.
And the stock market.
To get daily stock charts, commentary, and the weekend newsletter delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to the Lund Loop.
Talk to you soon,
P.S. It should go without saying - but I’ll say it anyway - all opinions expressed in The Lund Loop are my own personal opinions and don’t reflect the views of my employer, any associated entities, or other organizations I’m associated with.
Nothing written, expressed, or implied here should be looked at as investment advice or an admonition to buy, sell, or trade any security or financial instrument. As always, do your own diligence.