Trading Beyond the Matrix:

The Red Pill for Traders





Dr. Van Tharp knows that the biggest challenges traders face today are all mental.  In Trading Beyond the Matrix, Tharp takes the reader by the hand through the steps of self-transformation, from incorporating "Tharp Think"—ideas drawn from his modeling work with great traders—to making changes in yourself so that you can adopt the beliefs and attitudes necessary to win when you stop making mistakes and avoid methods that don't work.


One of the main concepts in Trading Beyond the Matrix is understanding transformation.  Van Tharp’s mission is one of transformation through a financial metaphor.  The book takes people through 3 levels of transformation: (1) transformation of the trading game (2) psychological transformation around beliefs, stuck feelings and conflicting parts; and (3) what he calls a Level III transformation where you make enough of transformations that you actually produce a major change in your consciousness. The book also covers:

  • Real success stories of people who have changed their trading significantly as a result of adopting these concepts.
  • Learning how to meet your objectives.
  • Statistical methods for understanding the market.
  • How to determine if your beliefs (programs) are useful or not.
  • Two different methods of dealing with internal conflict.
  • Nine steps to master yourself.
  • And much more!

A challenge and a big potenital prize


If you haven’t already read Trading Beyond the Matrix — read it at least once. Perhaps you should read it several times. Work with the principles and allow them to transform your life and your trading. Then, send us an email at with an article telling us the one key principle that was most valuable to you and how it impacted you. If you submit an essay on your most transformational insight from Trading Beyond the Matrix, you’ll have a chance to win a free foundation* workshop valued at $2,995. More contest details....


We have one contest winner already. Here is her winning insight entry.



I first heard of Dr. Van Tharp in Jack Schwager’s book, “Market Wizards”. Although the book had very interesting life and trading stories, it was the chapter with Dr. Van Tharp that spoke directly to me.


At that point, I had already invested over a year’s worth of time and money into becoming a successful trader. I had bought books, attended seminars, set up a brokers account, paper traded and traded for real. Things seem to be going in the right direction as far as paper trading was concerned, but somehow I could not transfer the same good results to my real trading.


It was clear to me that the problem was in myself and my psychology because the only difference between paper trading and real trading was my mind-set, my feelings and my emotions.

Dr. Van Tharp’s chapter in “Market Wizards” was the first thing I had read that shed a light on my problem. Here was a man of science saying that trading is 100% psychology and I believed him because I was living through it.


After that, I signed up for the Van Tharp Institute’s newsletter and started getting familiar with the Van Tharp Institute’s books and courses. I remember thinking that the courses were so interesting and that once I started making real money with trading I would take some of these courses. Since I had quit my previous occupation as a management consultant to dedicate myself completely to becoming a trader, I had not had any income for years and therefore was measuring my expenses very carefully.


I purchased his book on Electronic Day Trading and by the beginning of 2013 I was already standing by to get “Trading Beyond the Matrix”.


The book finally came to me in June 2013 with a bunch of other books that I bought at the same time. Saving the best for last, I finally got to read “Trading beyond the Matrix” in November 2013.

The depth and honesty in which the book is written was surprising and unexpected to me. I was hoping to find a lot of content on psychology but did not expect to find the in-depth spiritual transformational journeys that it presents in such a candid manner.


I was so involved and seduced by Dr. Van Tharp’s story, along with the Super Trader’s stories that I wanted it for myself. I knew that in order to have that I needed to finish the book.


Reading it was easy, but as it happens with all of Dr. Van Tharp’s books, they are not only meant to be read, they are also meant to be done. Doing “Trading beyond the Matrix” was a much tougher job than reading it, but I knew that was where the real reward was.


One of the first lessons from the book that I put into practice was gratitude. Although I have always been a spiritual person I never learned how to meditate; and although I had always believed in a Higher Power, I never really had a close relationship with it.


So I decided to start and finish my days with a list of gratitude to my Higher Power. The effect of gratitude alone was enough to make the book worth reading. The power ofgratitude is incredible. It was so liberating to focus on all the positive things and the infinite generosity of the universe instead of focusing on the negative. My lists became longer every day.


As the gratitude lists increased, the presence of my Higher Power became clearer and closer. Just as the Super Traders described in the book, I believed that my Higher Power loved me and had a wonderful life planned for me. I realized that whenever I sabotaged myself I drove myself away from my Higher Power and from that wonderful life.


With these beliefs growing stronger within me, things started to happen on the outside. I finally reached my goal weight, something that I had been working on for the past 3 years since I began my journey away from obesity.


I also got the clear realization that I should not keep trading with real money as it would be useless practice until I got proper education. Around the same time, I received a Van Tharp Institute newsletter promoting the Peak Performance 101 Course at a discounted rate.


Even at a discounted rate and adding the flight and hotel costs it was a significant expense for me, considering that I had received no income for the past 2 years. I was not sure I should make the investment but I felt my Higher Power strongly directed me there. It was surprising how easy it was to find and book convenient flights and hotels even coming from the remote place I live in.


Having this closer relationship with my Higher Power was like having an engine propelling me forward in the right direction. If it had not been for the book and the lessons in gratitude and connection with my Higher Power, I think I would have never overcome my fear of uncertainty and would not have signed up for the course.

I also received a clear message from my Higher Power that I was to give 100% commitment to everything that would take place in the course. I should not hold anything back and give myself completely with no judgment. That was my only mandate. As it turned out, the course was pivotal in my journey of self discovery.


In one of the course’s sessions we did a sort of meditation/regression with the objective of finding out old feelings that have been with us almost all our lives and that are holding us back. Until that moment I had never been subject to such procedure of regression so I did not know what to expect. But I followed the instructions of my Higher Power and plunged into it.


I have such a vivid recollection of what happened in that regression that it feels like the memory of something that happened in the real world as opposed to inside my mind. The image might not make enough sense to be described but the important thing is that I discovered the underlying feeling that was holding me back all my life: guilt.


Following the lesson, the instructors taught us to release those feelings. It was a very emotional moment for me. I felt that something had really changed. It felt like my core, my DNA had shifted and re-arranged.


After that there were a series of things that happened in that course/trip that seemed like a domino effect of positive things. There are too many happy encounters to list them all here but it was everything from winning enough money in the trading game to cover my hotel bill, to having the airline move my reservation to a much better seat than I had before. All these little things seem irrelevant on their own, but put together they formed a chain of positivity that I had never experienced before.

The course finished with a Oneness Blessing which was another life changing event for me. The surge of energy that I felt in the moment stayed with me and seemed to multiply. That night, back at my hotel room I could not sleep and had to go for a 10k run in the middle of the night to release some of the stored energy.

Back home I was determined to keep on that journey and find other ways to develop my relationship with my Higher Power and actively participate in Oneness.

So I went back to the “Trading beyond the Matrix” to apply the learnings of the course and do chapter 12 step-by-step.


The first steps in chapter 12 tell us to identify all our parts and their beliefs and then do a belief paradigm assessment for each belief. It is a long and strenuous process. I discovered many things about myself and about the people in my life. Some things are not pleasant and stir up very negative feelings. But somehow, having released my guilt in the Peak 101 course and having applied the same process to other negative feelings made it very easy to get rid of useless beliefs.

This is a process that I repeat almost every day as I am constantly aware of my feelings and rid myself almost immediately of any negativity that shows up. It becomes increasingly easy and now it seems that negative feelings cannot stick. My guilt was like Velcro in which all the negative feelings and useless beliefs would stick and stay. Now I have removed the Velcro and nothing stays.


Again, the external effects of getting rid of negative feelings and beliefs have been too many to list, but here are the most important categories:

1. After freeing myself from guilt and negative beliefs, I realized that all the times of suffering in my life had been of my own doing. I realized that I was never supposed to have suffered like that and I did so to get atonement for my guilt which was not real to begin with. Now, it is increasingly more and more difficult for me to hurt myself. Be it with bad habits like drinking, smoking, eating poorly, being sedentary or by having a bad attitude, being around negative people and damaging situations. It feels like there is an invisible shield or force that blocks my actions and thoughts whenever they are going to harm me.


2. The less negative beliefs I have about myself, the easier it is for me to do new things and do them well. For example, recently I had to design a website, something that I had never done before. Previously I would have believed that I am not a web-designer and I would not know how to do it. But now, I started the process with no beliefs about it at all. It was just a task that needed to be done and I did it successfully.


3. All these changes have also brought on the unexpected effect of transforming me into a channel. There have already been two situations in which I managed to liaise between people who could do something specifically good for each other and who would have been unlikely to meet if not through me.


4. The use of creativity has been heightened together with the clarity on taking decisions and finding the right path to follow. This has helped me come up with ways to earn money to fund my trading education and helped me make the right decisions to keep me on the path of truth.


5. The constant awareness of my thoughts and feelings keeps me close to my Higher Power and it guides me in small and large issues and decisions thousands of times each day. My Higher Power is me and I am her. She is my ideal self. She is the one who can guide me to the wonderful life that I deserve.


There are 9 steps in chapter 12 and I am only starting on step 5. Nevertheless, these are all the changes and impacts I can already report. I am eager to move on in my journey and curious about all the potential yet to be unlocked.


The book lives on my bed-side table because I read it very often. It has served as the great catalyst of all these chain events that unfolded and it remains an invaluable guide. I am grateful that Dr Van Tharp wrote it, I am grateful that it reached me, I am grateful that I could read it. I am grateful.


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