Is non-attachment for losers?

This is a social media series posted in 3 parts . . .

Part 1:

7 years ago, in my first yoga teacher training, our group was reading an article about the basic tenants of yoga. All was well until we came across this passage:

“Let go of any specific outcome or results”.

Wait . . . What?

I listened to this passage and then stopped the reading. This was a hard stop for my brain and I needed to comprehend before moving forward . . . What did that mean? No goal setting? No striving?

Was it suggesting that I set my dreams aside and smoke pot on the couch until the universe directed me?

I couldn’t compute the idea of letting go of results. Aren’t all actions directed toward a particular result? You date to find a life partner. You go to school to get a diploma. You sell products/services towards meeting quota. I understand the concept of enjoying the process, but what process doesn’t have an end result?

Whatever they meant, it sounded unrealistically impractical. I pictured a world full of sloths.

The concept we were reading about is called Aparigraha. Also known as non-attachment. It’s letting go. And I’m still grappling with it.

But I’ve learned something. Here’s the rationale:

Our attachments to a specific outcome – whether it happens or not, how it happens, and whether it happens quickly or not – can cause suffering in the form of worry, frustration, anger and fear.

True that! And furthermore . . .

Happiness shouldn’t be an elusive goal that can only be attained contingent on the arrival of an event or outcome sometime in the future.


I’m keeping Aparigraha (non-attachment) top of mind because . . .

“Living your life will be an ongoing journey of joy, rather than one of experiencing long dry spells between occasional moments of temporary satisfaction in the achieving of something wanted.” – Abraham Hicks

Are there any control freaks/achievers out there who can relate to struggling with the concept of non-attachment?


Part 2:

At first glance, the concept of non-attachment sounded like a lame excuse. The way I first encountered non-attachment was with this dictum from my yoga teacher training manual:

“Let go of any specific outcome or results”.

It sounded like the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. How does any functional human being just “let go of results”?

My full-time gig is in sales. I can tell you that my quota has never been optional or negotiable. The companies I’ve worked for haven’t cared HOW I get there. I just need to get to the magic number or I get shown the door. Pretty simple.

So, basically . . .

Results are EVERYTHING.

I had to dig into this “non-attachment” thing because I just couldn’t comprehend how it was going to be helpful or realistic for me.

I understand non-attachment as it relates to possessions. I get non-attachment to the world being a certain way (trying to control things outside of your control).

But what does non-attachment mean when it pertains to very specific goals, such as a sales quota?

Well, I think I’m starting to understand. And I’ll be posting my thoughts in part 3.

How have you dealt with non-attachment as it relates to results, outcomes, goals, and/or sales quotas? Have you tackled it? Are you still distilling this concept?


Part 3: 4 mind hacks for non-attachment

Since yoga teacher training 7 years ago, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the concept of non-attachment. I understand non-attachment as it relates to possessions. I get non-attachment to the world being a certain way (trying to control things outside of your control).

My roadblock has been in this precept:

“Let go of any specific outcome or results”.

I understand that it’s important to “enjoy the journey/process”. But we’re on a journey for a purpose. And goals steer us.

The ultimate question: How to apply the concept of non-attachment to a specific goal.

Example: my full-time gig is in sales. I have a quota. How does one apply the concept of non-attachment to a sales quota?

Non-attachment certainly can’t imply that we shouldn’t care. Or that we should just ignore or avoid the target.

Maybe it’s implying that we not put ALL our focus on the end goal? Maybe it is stating that we shouldn’t be so attached to the outcome/result, that we lose sight of our values? Is that all there is to it?

Let’s go back to the quota situation:

Point A – $0. The hurdle is at Point B – $XX quota.

Is attachment getting too caught up in the FEELING of achieving Point B . . . as if happiness lies on the other side of the quota? Does attachment happen when the mind is so laser focused on the target, it creates the illusion that Point A and anywhere in between A & B is . . . inadequate, creating discontent?


So, is it a simple attitude adjustment? If one can remain in a positive state of contentment when short of quota, does the outcome come more naturally? Can we practice non-attachment and end up with more?

4 mind hacks on non-attachment as it relates to a specific goal:

  1. Focus on the now. Be present. What action can you take in this moment? “Execution – that’s it. That’s the difference between you and what you want.”
  2. Don’t get too locked in on the “how”. There are infinite possibilities. Rigidity could hamper the ability to be alert to opportunities. Stay flexible.
  3. Adopt an attitude of learning. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn. The process of learning can be deeply satisfying.
  4. Practice the Art of Allowing. The Art of Allowing is simple acceptance. It’s allowing people, things and events to be as they are – without wanting to fix, change or judge anything.


Click here to read more on the Art of Allowing.