I believe that the engine that makes The Van Tharp Institute work is our mission of transformation through a trading metaphor. Recently, I began to look more closely at our mission statement and realized that we actually take people through three levels of transformation. I will go through these three levels below.
Our Mission at the Van Tharp Institute
The first level we offer is transformation of the trading game—from rules that assure big money wins to rules that give the astute trader a huge edge. These new rules consist of the Tharp Think concepts that I require all Super Traders to know and understand as the first part of their program.
In one of my advanced workshops I teach the concept that we all play "games" in life. A game can be defined as any dynamic consisting of two or more players with a set of rules that generally define how the game is won or lost. I’m using the concept of the “trading game” to symbolize a big picture description of all aspects trading.
I believe the financial markets are part of a huge game and at the top level, where the rules get set, made, and changed, there is big money. Big money makes its own rules and profits no matter what you or any individual trader does—they are so much bigger than that. Big money controls the US government—notice where US Treasury leadership comes from so often and where they go afterwards. Big money also has created a two party political system in which people argue over everything except what is really going on.
Trading is not easy; however, becoming a trader is very easy. There are no obstacles whatsoever to anyone opening a trading account. I have long said that if trading were easy, big money would make the entry requirements so steep that it would be impossible for an average person to trade. Big money might do this through an education and exam system that would weed out most people. Even today, brokers have to take a Series 7 exam; however, passing this exam has nothing to do with success in the market.
Big Money’s Rules
Generally, big money believes the more people that play the trading game, the easier it is for them to make money. And, as I said before, big money has a set of rules for how it makes money, which has little to do with you making money. I’ve listed some of the rules created by big money here.
The New Rules
The new rules are born out of the idea that trading is as much a profession as is any other profession. Most people spend many years learning their profession, but anyone can start trading today. Can you imagine walking into a hospital and saying, “I think I’ll try some brain surgery today.”? It just won’t work. Yet you can open an online brokerage account, transfer in $100,000 and, suddenly, you are a trader. Trading with no preparation, however, could be as fatal to your account as performing brain surgery would be on that unlucky patient in the hospital.
Can you see how the first set of rules can lead to disaster while the second set of rules are a major transformation of the trading game and can lead to success?
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You create how you experience life through your beliefs. Once you understand this, you can recreate yourself through your beliefs to be a successful performer. This is similar to Neo from the movie, The Matrix choosing to take the red pill.
The Matrix Model of Reality
I love the premise for the movie The Matrix because the matrix is much more real than most people assume. The film at its most basic description questions reality. Is reality that which is perceived by most humans? Or is our reality something that is being thrust upon us by outside forces? Is it something very individual?
There really is a matrix and we form it through our language and our common beliefs. When you name something and then add adjectives and phrases to that name, you give meaning to the world (e.g., dog, small dog, hyperactive dog, dog that would be a good pet, dog that needs discipline training classes). We shape our entire world by our words, thoughts and beliefs and the first step is to realize it. Morpheus calls this "taking the red pill." But before we get into how our beliefs shape our experience, I'd like to share a few quotes from the movie that I found particularly relevant.
Quotes from The Matrix
Taking the Red Pill
When you take the metaphorical red pill, you learn that the whole world is shaped by your beliefs. You then open up to an amazing world of possibility. You can transform by releasing non-useful beliefs and adopting more useful ones. And it all starts by examining your beliefs. What do you believe? Are those beliefs true? Can you absolutely know that they are true? What happens when you believe these things? What would you be like if you didn’t believe such things? Suddenly, you see each belief’s limitations and part of the illusion falls away. Perhaps it’s replaced by something more useful or perhaps it just disappears.
How do you know a belief is not useful? Start by asking questions like the ones I listed previously: Is it true? What happens when I believe that thought? What would I be like without that thought? Does it have any emotional charge associated with it? Ask those questions and you’ll know what’s hindering you.
This belief examination exercise, however, involves looking inward, which some people find painful. It also involves dealing with fear. Unfortunately, as soon as most people feel any fear, they get stopped in their tracks. Yet that fear signifies something they need to move through. We spend years avoiding such experiences, literally running away, but now we’re asking you to really look at them and that takes courage.
Much of our education for traders involves this sort of work. Imagine looking at all of your trading beliefs and eliminating those that don’t help you win. On top of that, imagine eliminating all the beliefs that limit you. Now imagine eliminating all the beliefs about the universe that seem to indicate that you can’t win because the universe (or God) is against you. This gives you some hints at how powerful personal transformation can be. When you are committed to doing the work, the Peak Performance Home Study Course and the Peak Performance workshops series will help you eliminate all of your limiting beliefs so you transform your Self—the second level of transformation.
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Now we come to the final level of transformation: Changing Your Level of Consciousness. This kind of transformation is initiated during the Oneness Awakening Course, the Advanced Peak Performance 202 Workshop, and Peak Performance 203: The Happiness Workshop. Transformation at this level allows people to move toward a level of consciousness in which happiness and abundance are the norm.
The late David Hawkins was one of the most successful psychiatrists in the world. He had a very high level of consciousness and performed miracle cures on his patients. He eventually closed his practice to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, his thesis on measuring the levels of human consciousness. Much of his thesis was then turned into a popular book entitled Power vs. Force.
In Power vs. Force, Hawkins describes human consciousness using a log scale from 1 to 1,000, with 1,000 being the highest level of consciousness achievable by a human being. Hawkins postulated that only a few (e.g., Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc.) ever achieved the 1,000 level. He goes on to say that, for much of the past 5,000 years, human consciousness as a whole has been just below 200-the level that separates the positive from the negative. According to Hawkins, Gandhi 2 had a consciousness of 700 and was able to defeat the British Army, whose collective consciousness was 175.
Raising your level of consciousness doesn ’t just help Gandhi, it can help you as a trader. If you are trading at a low level of consciousness, you are probably trading out of fear, greed, or desperation.
Super Trader Transformations
I had one Super Trader—through an exercise in one of our workshops—reach a deep, profound state of mind. When she told me about it, I suggested that she trade through that state. Just by trading in that state, she was able to make 134R in the month of November 2010. During that month, she made money on 86% of her trades and she made no mistakes.
One of our Super Traders also became one of the first Oneness trainers and he was a co-trainer for the first Trading in the Now Workshop during the Super Trader Summit last year. After becoming a trainer, he went from 70% efficiency in his trading to better than 95% efficiency. He fulfilled his longtime desire to quit his job and trade full time.
There are a number of others I could talk about, but I just selected these three as examples.
Level III B: Awakening
I once had dreams of forming a company with a few other like-minded people to change the world; however, those dreams faded quickly. At some point, I realized that nothing would change until I changed; this is the basic idea of performing well in the matrix and going beyond it.
In the process of my personal transformations over much of my adult life, I have pursued many directions and methods of personal development. Most recently, I became a Oneness Blessing giver and Oneness trainer a few years ago. Nothing I’ve done in my 30 years of personal transformation has been as powerful as my experiences with the Oneness Process over the last few years. Now, most of my staff members are blessing givers and while all this has been happening, the business has grown in success.
I originally had no intention of making Oneness part of the VTI curriculum. All this seemed very “far out” to me when I started, but for some reason I was drawn to it. I’m constantly looking for what works and helps people. And as I’ve watched the transformations that have occurred as a result of the process, I’ve been amazed. The few articles that I have written on the topic were among our best received articles ever. In addition, most of our Oneness Awakening workshops have sold out and some traders are making it the first VTI workshop they have ever attended. Moreover, people are reporting significant changes through the blessing and that’s why I offer it for those who are interested.
The final level of transformation is simply a state that I aspire to attain: awakening. In this state, the following are true:
If you want a perfect example of how an awakened being lives, read Byron Katie’s A Thousand Names for Joy.
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|How to Proceed|
|There is a lot of work do be done to to proceed through these three levels of transformations. But don't feel daunted. My students are doing this work everyday and you can too. If you have not yet completed my Peak Performance Home Study start with this program first. It includes the cornerstones of most of principles that I teach.|
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