Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter (View On-Line)
My Spiritual Journey to the Van Tharp Institute (II)
Twenty-Two Years of Massive Outperformance by D. R. Barton, Jr.
5 finalists in the Matrix Insight Contest, vote for your favorite!
New! Tharp Think Essentials Workshop
This workshop will cover the key concepts that you need to thoroughly understand to become a great trader, such as:
- Thinking in terms of objectives,
- The key levels of transformation,
- Reward to risk,
- Position Sizing to meet objectives, and more.
We do not plan to present this workshop again, so if you would like to attend this is your only opportunity. Register soon to take advantage of the $700 early enrollment discount (you pay only $1,295)!
For more information or to register, click here.
My Spiritual Journey to the Van Tharp Institute
In last week’s article, Wayne Welsh described a little about his upbringing and a few major events in his recent life. He picks the story up here shortly after having spoken with Jillian about signing up for the Oneness workshop about two years ago.
The first day of the Oneness Workshop in September, 2012 went well and I learned about Oneness concepts. Dr. Tharp’s talk about the differences between religion and spirituality really intrigued me. He said religion was a set of beliefs adopted by an institution whereas spirituality was a journey to observe what was going on inside. He hit that one on the head for me as organized religions never seemed to get me to where I wanted to be. In the workshop, we did some clearing exercises which were very useful, but what got to me most was receiving the Oneness blessings. I started to cry a river. I felt like I couldn’t control my emotions and a voice in my head kept saying, "It’s time to open up. Open your heart and let me in…"
That night I couldn’t sleep. I felt so energized, I wanted so much more. I took out the Oneness workbook we had received and read it front to back. I was ready for day two in a big way and thought I would just sit back to see what would unfold and it went even better than day one of the workshop. I felt so happy and uplifted by the end of the workshop that I didn’t want to leave that place or those people. The instructors were awesome; I thought Janie Guill and Dr. Tharp really had it all together. I was feeling great, happy and closer to my spiritual Divine.
On the drive home, I decided I would retake the workshop as soon as it was offered again. I remember feeling really good about this whole Oneness Movement. After I got home, I started to talk to my Divine several times a day. I wondered if it was that saintly woman I had spoken to in the past even though I had always portrayed my Divine in a masculine sense.
After I returned, I began to notice that I was starting to view life differently. I was happier than normal for unknown reasons. I was able to pick up the differences between positive and negative energies, especially with my patients and my colleagues. Negativity seemed to make me feel uncomfortable though I started to see negative individuals as people who were really hurting and experiencing internal strife. I continued to notice these kinds of changes for several months.
I knew that my job in a hospital’s Emergency Department with its negative, toxic culture seemed to suck positive energy out of me. I knew I wasn’t going to last long working there as it was rife with staff member backstabbing and great mistrust of the administration. I knew my new outlook on life didn’t fit in well at this hospital.
From a personal standpoint, I started to explore why I wasn’t dating. By that point, I had been divorced for 8 years and my kids had all grown up. My daughter, the oldest of my children, was working for the government in Washington, D.C. One of my boys was in college and my youngest was in the Army serving in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne division. I have to say I was one proud Papa but was there room now for someone special? I wondered about still having some psychological baggage left.
The next Oneness workshop was going to be in April, 2013 and I signed up very early. Leading up to it, I continued to work on my personal progress with a great tool — Byron Katie’s “Judge Your Neighbor” worksheet. Through the process of filling out a lot of those sheets, I saw how I was projecting so much of what was inside of me onto the people around me. Another tool I found useful was Dr. Tharp’s Happiness Test. We had to fill one of those out before the workshop and I remember scoring pretty high though I didn’t understand the significance of the score until later. Even though I scored pretty high, I wondered if some baggage might still be holding me back from scoring higher.
In April last year, I really worked hard at that second Oneness Workshop. I wanted to clear the rest of my baggage in the worst way and the workshop helped me clear almost everything else left in my psychological closet. I felt so happy, so free and I could feel myself grow spiritually. I remember Dr. Tharp saying he gained a lot of energy from his Divine and I could feel more energy too as I was growing closer to mine.
I also remember hearing Dr. Tharp say he felt that someone in that workshop would one day come forward and start working at his company as a research assistant. I remember saying a prayer in class asking God for that favor. I also asked again when I said my prayers that night. I was excited thinking about the possibility, however, it didn’t make much sense for me financially. When I meditated and prayed before bed each night, my Divine was telling me I wasn’t ready yet to make that big of a change yet. I felt I needed to work on something but didn’t know what.
I came to realize how totally unhappy I felt working in the ED. I also felt very uneasy about the changes in health care overall and I disagreed with our hospital’s administration laying off nurses. Nurses are the backbone of any hospital. Laying them off just increased the workload of those who remained — who were overworked already. I had the strongest feeling that I needed to leave and find something different to do, I just hadn’t determined what.
I finally ended up leaving the hospital ED in April of 2014 with no plan of any sort but with confidence about the future. What a relief I felt being ready to start on something new. The next day, I was talking to Janie Guill, one of the Van Tharp Institute instructors, and I told her I was now unemployed. Coincidentally, she needed someone just then to watch the animals on her farm in Virginia while she and her husband went away for a week to another state. I thought helping out on her farm would give me time to think about my future plans. When we talked, I didn’t know she was going to have lunch with Dr. Tharp later the very same very day. That evening, Janie called me to say that Dr. Tharp wanted to speak with me about filling the research assistant position that he had available. I almost fell off my chair in excitement.
When I got to their farm a few days later, Janie’s husband Bill wanted to talk to me in private about the research assistant’s position. I have a lot of respect for Bill. He thought the people and environment at the Van Tharp Institute were so spiritually and academically advanced, he couldn’t remember any group of individuals that he had ever encountered that could compare. Bill had no direct affiliation with Dr. Tharp’s company so I was really excited to hear his opinion.
While at Janie’s farm, I spent some time reading Trading Beyond the Matrix. One evening, I came across the section about having preconceived ideas about your Divine which can limit your ability to hear what your Divine has to say. All of a sudden my Divine said to me, ”You have had all of these ideas about me and what I should look like when I have been right here for you all along.” As I realized I had been doing that, tears of joy rolled down my face and I sat there shaking, asking my Divine what my purpose was. She told me I needed to go to Cary, NC and work with the group at the Van Tharp Institute. That was my miracle but it left me emotionally drained. When Janie and Bill returned from their trip, I shared this experience with them in a very joyous moment. I really enjoyed my time at their farm and bonded closely with all of their pets. I also felt much closer to my Divine.
In the following days, I interviewed over the phone for the research position with Dr. Tharp and the staff. It turned out to be a definite go. I was excited and put all of my trust and faith into my Divine to lead this big change in my life. I was really listening to and fully trusting my Divine for the first time in my life.
Learning about Oneness from Dr. Tharp and Janie truly helped me transform myself more than any other class or course I have ever taken. Since attending that first Oneness workshop a few years ago, I have been able to listen to my Divine talk to me and trust what she said. I’ve completely changed my career path, sold off almost all of my belongings, and am about to put my Maryland house up for sale. Now I am at the Van Tharp Institute working as a Research Assistant and I am a member of the Super Trader Program.
Life for me has never been more exciting, joyful and at the same time filled with love and peace.
Love and Blessings,
New Two-Day Version of Tharp Think Coming in September
Tharp Think Essentials
with Van Tharp and Janie Guill
Any trader who learns how to prevent mistakes and understands things like market type, thinking in terms of reward to risk, and using position sizing strategies to meet your objectives could immediately see a huge increase in the level of their profitability. Learn More...
|September: Berlin, Germany
Peak Performance 101
with Van Tharp and co-instructor Janie Guill
Peak Performance 202
with Van Tharp and Libby Adams and co-instructor Janie Guill
Peak Performance 203
with Van Tharp and co-instructor Janie Guill
with Gabriel Grammatidis
Live Forex Trading
with Gabriel Grammatidis
Swing Trading Systems
with Ken Long
Just Added: November
|Oct 30-Nov 1
Peak Performance 101
with Van Tharp and co-instructors RJ Hixson and Janie Guill
Peak Performance 202
with Van Tharp and Libby Adams
and co-instructors RJ Hixson and Janie Guill
|For Super Trader Only Events, click here.
Combo Discounts available for all back-to-back workshops!
See our workshop page for details.
Twenty-Two Years of Massive Outperformance —
What Can We Learn?
A recent CNBC interview with hedge fund honcho Leon Cooperman, founder of Omega Overseas Partners, caught my attention for several reasons. The first was a genuine curiosity as to how this guy has been able to continually outperform the market with a huge account for so many years. Second, I wanted to see if there are any lessons that we could learn from him. And third, my business partner had run money for Cooperman for a number of years and had told many Cooperman stories already but I couldn’t wait to ask him a few more questions about this maven.
One Maven Talks About Another
My business partner, Christopher Castroviejo, is a 35+ year Wall Street veteran who worked both the sell side (brokerage) and buy side (hedge fund, money management). In the mid-1990s, Christopher and his firm were well known as one of the few hedge funds who successfully ran a short book. Cooperman had heard this and sent his right-hand man, Doug Kass, over to check out the operation. Kass and Cooperman were impressed enough to give Christopher’s firm $50 million to run on the short side as a hedge for the rest of their book. And for the next five years, Christopher and Cooperman had frequent discussions about how this chunk of money was being managed.
I asked Christopher what stood out about those interactions, and here’s a bulleted list of Christopher’s thoughts on Leon Cooperman in no particular order:
- One thing that stood out plainly was that Cooperman was (and remains!) a superb fundamental analyst. He took nothing at face value and always dug deeper into the information in order to form his own opinions.
- Christopher was impressed by his intense discipline – he believed hard work always paid off.
- He always advocated “love what you do”.
- Cooperman played the game in line with what he believed and where he saw his strengths. He was not going to play an institutional-style game with low volatility returns.
- When Christopher ran Cooperman’s short book, he noted Cooperman’s great courage in his convictions. Even with the courage to stay the course, however, he always challenged his positions to make sure that nothing fundamental to the trade had changed. He asked Christopher three words countless times, “Are you sure?” and that refrain still rings in Christopher’s ears. Even with his constant checking and curiosity he would stick with many (though not all) positions that were well-reasoned.
- Cooperman would frequently call and ask for a review of the position, and he wasn’t shy about changing course with his whole book, even if he liked individual positions. He realized how important — as well as how difficult— hedging was on the short side and he would insist on long periods of holding his short account totally in cash or mostly in cash.
- As you can tell from these comments, he was very hands on — very on top of what was happening, and thanks to his work ethic, he really knew the details.
- Like Christopher’s grandfather, Bernard Smith — Cooperman believed that you always had to be bullish on something. This is undoubtedly why he cashed in recoveries better than anyone in the business (see his return figures below).
- One of his main edges is a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals that he matched so well to his ability to foresee upcoming business cycle trends.
Now for That Head-Spinning Track Record:
Here is Cooperman’s Omega Partners’ track record that was included in the CNBC interview:
(To see a larger version of this chart, click here.)
Cooperman averaged an annual return of 14.6% compounded vs. 9.3% for the S&P 500 during the same period. If that isn’t impressive enough, note that his figures are net of fees — meaning that the actual returns were significantly higher!
Here are some observations:
- He does have down years, but knows who he is & what his strengths are.
- He can have significant drawdowns, but his returns on rebounds (1993, 2003 and 2009) are nothing short of stunning.
- Looking at his current top holdings (none more than 3.2% of capital): Sprint, SandRidge Energy, AIG, Sirius XM, Citigroup, Tribune, Tetragon Financial, Telenet Group, Dish Network and Chimera Investment, you can tell that he is a stock picker (and a value guy) and not one to jump on the same bandwagon just because other managers are.
What Can We Learn From Mr. Cooperman?
The first thing that leaps out after talking to Christopher and digging into the CNBC interview is that Cooperman is a guy who trades his beliefs. He believes in the long-term bullish bias of the equities market and is quick to capitalize on upturns after down periods. In addition, specialization works — his specialty is fundamental analysis. Lastly, when you have edge, have the courage to stick to your convictions; don’t get shaken out after a few rough trades. Let the law of large numbers and the confidence in your plan carry you through.
As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome — please send them to drbarton “at” vantharp.com
One of the primary objectives of longer-term systems is that they require less management than shorter term systems. Ken's Core Systems can be operated outside of market hours in less than an hour per month.
You can now stream the digitally recorded Core Trading Systems Workshop and download the companion documents for a special introductory price. Learn five trading systems from the dynamic Dr. Ken Long in your own space, at your own pace!
At $1,295 it's half the cost of the live workshop. Plus, for a limited time...
...we are releasing it for only $995!
We've complied all you need to know about this new offering. Go to www.vantharp.com/products/core-workshop-video-home-study.asp
For a short video overview about the course, click here.
Vote on Your Favorite
Matrix Insight Entry
Over the past year, we have received so many amazing letters telling us about the insights many of you had while reading Trading Beyond the Matrix. We have shared many of those letters in this newsletter and now the time has come to choose a winner of the contest! We are excited to reveal the finalists to win a free workshop, our 5 favorite insights. We ask that you read the finalists' entries and vote for your favorite to win a free workshop at the Van Tharp Institute!
Click here to read the finalists' entries
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