The ultimate home study course for traders. Learn how you think when you make and lose money, stress reduction,; how to reduce your mistakes, and how to trade unemotionally. Understand fully what Van Tharp means when he says: you don't trade the markets, you trade your beliefs about the markets. ...more info
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In the early 2000s, I took the Avatar Wizards Course twice. The first time I took the course, I pretty much skipped over a section that seemed useless to me called Secrets and Hidden Agendas. I noticed that the people who had attended the Wizards course many times, however, were spending a lot of time on that section. Why?
The object of that section was to free your attention and the basic steps of the process go something like this:
List secrets that you are keeping. (Hint: Look for anyone you are blaming, criticizing, feeling separate from; disapproving of; judgmental toward; angry at; or feel betrayed by.) The following kinds of questions can be helpful:
What would make people think less of you if it was revealed?
What is something you would not want _______________ to know about?
What do you feel, if revealed, would disappoint other people?
What would make ________________ disapprove of you?
For each response, describe the humiliation (resisted experience) from which you are protecting yourself or from which you believe you are protecting others. What have you created as a result of resisting it?
The process then went on to use a technique to deal with the creation and the resisted experience which ironically, was an Avatar secret. (Maybe that suggests that they should run their own process on it?) Another irony – one of their examples of a Hidden Agenda included any goals or plans that were misaligned with the expansion of Avatar and Harry Palmer (Avatar founder). They actually told us that revealing an Avatar secret would impact our Karma for seven generations (which didn’t really scare me). Overall, though, I did get a lot out of the course the two times I took it.
So why am I talking about secrets and hidden agendas? I want you to understand that secrets and hidden agendas simply suggest that your mind is not clear and that you are holding yourself back.
Quite often, people in the Super Trader program have issues that they consider deep dark secrets, ones that are very difficult to reveal. However, once they have cleared the issue, they either 1) totally forget what it was about or 2) they no longer feel the issue is a secret anymore because it doesn’t have any charge.
At the time I took the first Avatar Wizard course I had an issue with anger — which especially seemed to come up any time someone questioned my financial integrity. I had tried to trace it back to experiences when I was younger, even possible past life experiences, but nothing ever came up. And then an extreme example of the charge happened after that first course. My wife and I had been working out with a personal trainer who had us use a particular gym. We paid him his fees and from those fees, he paid the monthly gym dues for us. But then we went on one of our six week trips so I arranged to take a break with the trainer until after we returned. When we returned, we discovered that he had not paid the gym dues for the last two months and that the gym had taken us to a collection
agency. Suddenly, I was livid. I got so angry that I seriously considered picketing the gym for unfair business practices. I was really, really mad and yet the intensity of my anger didn’t make sense to me.
When I attended my second Wizards Course, I spent quite a bit of time on my hidden agendas and I was able to remember a great childhood embarrassment. It was something I didn’t want anyone to know about and at that time, I certainly would have never shared it in a newsletter for the world to see. When I was ten years old, I stole some comic books from a store but my mother found out and made me hand them back to the store manager admitting what I had done. I found that whole process mortifying. Through the Wizards Course, however, I cleared my charges from the memory. After that, I didn’t get angry when anyone questioned my financial integrity, my anger about that totally disappeared. Beyond the anger not appearing anymore, the whole issue is no longer that big a deal so I have no
trouble writing about it publicly in this newsletter.
While I won’t reveal the Wizards process, we at VTI have developed our own methods of dealing with secrets and hidden agendas through some very simple processes. They are not secret and my belief is that civilization will improve as more people know about them. You don’t have to take my courses or pay money to get them. Share them with the world. Here they are.
Think about and identify your secrets and hidden agendas.
Identify the beliefs that you associate with your secrets and hidden agendas.
Realize that these beliefs are about you, not other people.
Clear the charges from the beliefs (using some form of feeling release).
Clear or change the non-useful beliefs.
It’s not that hard at all.
Here is an example of using that process on my comic books experience. Actually, I cleared everything about that 15 years ago so I tried to recreate what I might have been thinking at the time. Here are some of the beliefs and charges that resulted —
My mother was disappointed in me because I stole something. She would frequently tell me if I did that again, I would no longer be her son. So there was an issue with who I was at that point. This created the charge of abandonment.
The worst part was returning the comics and admitting what I did to the store manager. I had imagined I would get punished or even thrown in jail. This belief created a charge of fear.
And then there was the issue “What will others think of me if I tell them what I did?” I’d be so humiliated and I’d lose my reputation. The charge here was embarrassment.
After identifying the beliefs and charges, do a major feeling release like we teach in Peak Performance 101, or follow a releasing process like you can find in The Sedona Method or from other sources. In my case, I would have done three feeling releases, one each on the charges of abandonment, fear, and embarrassment.
When the charges are gone, then it should be easy to get rid of any non-useful beliefs. Here were some of the non-useful beliefs I worked on —
My mother will abandon me.
Later in her life after my father and sister had died, she used to tell me “you are all I have.” That hardly sounds like someone who would stop caring about me. When she told me I wouldn’t be her son anymore if I stole again, that was just her way of trying to guide my choices. She died in 1993 and I could call that abandoning me but she is inside my heart whenever I want to visit with her.
I will be punished.
Well, my thoughts about what would happen were much worse that what actually happened. I don’t remember but I would guess the store manager thanked me and told me not to do that again. I wasn’t arrested or thrown in jail and I have never stolen anything else since that time.
And what will others thing of me? Will I lose my reputation?
Well, when I think back now, the riskiest thing I have ever done was publish Trading Beyond the Matrix. I worried that people might think that Van had gone off the deep end — and some people did think that. Overall, however, that book has helped attract people to us who were willing to work on their issues. As my friend Lee Coit used to say about the women in his life. “One third of the women in the world will like me; one third of the women will probably dislike me; and the last third will be indifferent. I think I’ll concentrate on the third who will like me.”
Issues come up with my Super Traders sometimes when they have secrets and they are not sure whether they can trust me to keep them. That becomes an interesting dilemma for me because I know that 1) I need to keep their secrets as long as they consider them secrets, but 2) my job is to get them to be free of such secrets. When they do become free of a secret, it’s usually a big shift even though it might not seem that way to them at first.
In the Peak 202 workshop last month, one of the students summed up perfectly his experience of releasing a secret. In a debrief for one of the exercises, he said, “In the last exercise, I decided to work on my deepest, darkest secret.” I asked, “Is it still a secret? Can you talk about it?” He responded with a look of surprise and said very calmly, “Sure, it’s not a big deal anymore.”
As you read this article I am away cruising the Nile river with my wife and exploring Egypt, something I have had on my bucket list for a long time. I would welcome any feedback you have on your experiences doing the exercises I have suggested and clearing away secrets that are most likely holding you back in some way. You can send your email to email@example.com.
About the Author: Trading coach, and author, Dr. Van K. Tharp is widely recognized for his best-selling books and his outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program—a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp www.vantharp.com.
Other first quarter selections will likely include How to Develop Winning Trading Systems, Trading in Bear and Down Markets, plus more Advanced Peak Performance offerings. More information will be available soon.
As I sit at my computer typing the morning after the election, I’m dazed by the events of the last 24 hours.
What could have possibly topped the most captivating and crazy campaign season of our lifetimes? How about the election night that followed?
This was the craziest election cycle of my life but there was one thing that voters did agree on. “Both sides of the aisle” agreed we had the two most disliked candidates in the history of U.S. presidential elections. Ms. Clinton’s “unfavorable” ratings were higher than any presidential candidate before. Mr. Trump’s unfavorable ratings, however, were even higher than Clinton’s — by many percentage points depending on the poll you chose. And that’s not just a feeling or an impression — numerous polls confirmed this strong sentiment dating all the way back to June of 2015.
In critical other ways, however, this was an election that the polls (almost all of them) got very wrong. If Mr. Rogers, the beloved PBS children’s show TV host, were alive today he might interject in his dulcet tones, “Can you say Brexit? There — I knew you could.”
It seems that the new populist movement has completely flummoxed pollsters. They didn’t see it ahead of the Great Britain vote for “Exit the European Union” and they missed it here too in the U.S. Presidential election.
I believe the answer to this mystery is actually a simple one: people will not admit to pollsters when they support a position (or a candidate) considered “unintellectual”. When the press tells the average Jane and Joe Six-pack that they are Neanderthals or simpletons to seriously consider a vote for Brexit or for Trump, those same people feel embarrassed to tell pollsters how they’re really going to vote and so the polls get it wrong.
So What About The Markets?
So what does this election outcome have to do with the markets? Plenty — in both the short term and the long term. Let me explain…
Even if you perceived candidate Clinton as untrustworthy or corrupt (the two top reasons respondents gave for her being unlikeable), the markets were stable and moving up when she was measurably ahead in the polls.
When candidate Trump (unlikeable for perceived sexism, racism and myriad other reasons) gained ground in the polls, the markets dropped. The possibility of a Trump presidency generated full-force fear in traders and investors because of one word. That word is “uncertainty”.
We saw the uncertainty effect at work big time last night. As a Trump victory became more and more apparent, the U.S. market indexes plunged. In terms of “uncertainty”, the markets couched president-elect Trump’s victory as more unsettling at first than the Brexit vote. The peak-to-trough drop for Dow futures was 843 points during the night of the Brexit vote counting. As the vote count moved in Trump’s favor last night, the Dow futures were down 976 points at their lowest level for the night.
Even more stunning than the drop last night, however, has been the snap back rally. The post Brexit rally took a few days to get going. For the Trump election? It started right after Mr. Trump’s delivered his surprisingly well received victory speech in the wee hours of this morning. Why might this snapback rally have happened so fast? I’ll opine on that a bit after we look at two charts showing the recoveries.
First, here’s the Brexit drop and recovery chart of the mini Dow futures:
And now, here’s the U.S. election night for the same contract:
Why Is This Important?
Pundits promised that a Trump victory would destabilize financial markets. Upon hearing a more gracious version of the president-elect than expected, however, the markets decided that perhaps this wasn’t going to be an Armageddon scenario after all.
To be fair, we are only a few hours past the election being called for President-elect Trump as I write this on Wednesday morning. The markets also have been comforted by a major supporting factor — Republicans kept control of both houses of Congress.
Also, we can expect a kick-start of volatility in the short term for two main reasons. The markets are going to parse every move and every announcement of the Trump administration transition team as it gets into full gear. In addition, from what we have seen of candidate Trump, President-elect Trump will be anything but boring…
Next week I’ll share a longer-term chart (MUCH longer, think “Yuge” as President-elect Trump would say…) that puts all of these market twists in true perspective.
Please send your thoughts and comments to drbarton “at” vantharp.com — I always appreciate hearing from you!
About the Author: A passion for the systematic approach to the markets and lifelong love of teaching and learning have propelled D.R. Barton, Jr. to the top of the investment and trading arena. He is a regularly featured analyst on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. TV show (catch him most Thursdays between 12:30 and 12:45), on Bloomberg Radio Taking Stock and MarketWatch’s Money Life Show. He is also a frequent guest analyst on CNBC’s Closing Bell, WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest on China Central Television — America and Canada’s Business News Network. His articles have appeared on SmartMoney.com MarketWatch.com and Financial Advisor magazine. You may
contact D.R. at "drbarton" at "vantharp.com".
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