Why Would Anyone Give Workshops if They Can Trade Well?
Van K. Tharp Ph.D.
In a recent article entitled, “Some Will Love You and Some Will Hate
You, So What!” I talked about someone on an internet forum asking
if he should attend a Van Tharp workshop.
People, who had obviously not attended a workshop or were not
students of any of my work, were quick to respond with very negative
comments. That article
was my response to those comments, (you can read it by clicking
here) and it prompted a wealth of positive and supportive feedback
from so many of you, which my entire staff and I appreciated so
much (I’ve included a link at the end of today’s article if
you’d like to read some of those).
However, there was one last comment on the forum I mentioned
that I wanted to address separately.
The comment was “Why would anyone give workshops if they
can trade well?” To me
that addresses what my life is all about and I wanted to devote a
separate article to it.
I’ve already responded to this statement to some extent in the last
article. I love helping
people and that’s my calling.
And I have great coaching skills.
However, there is also an underlying presupposition behind
the statement (and understanding presuppositions is a major part of
understanding NLP). That
presupposition is that money (or trading) is the most important
thing in the world and why would anyone do anything else.
We’ve actually found that good traders do not value money that highly,
or at least, it is not one of the major reasons that they trade. They trade because they want to be the best or because they
love it. Those who trade
for the money usually have a very difficult time.
And if you’d like to understand that better, then I
strongly recommend that you work on my Peak Performance Course.
I actually started this business because I wanted to help people
transform. I found that
the best traders tend to live very balanced and happy lives.
Furthermore, you had to deal with psychological issues right
up front if you ever wanted to be an effective trader.
Otherwise those issues would constantly find a way to bite
you. And as I started
coaching people, I watched their lives change for the better and
that’s what drove me.
So I could actually change that statement around.
To me it makes sense to ask, “If you can transform
people’s lives and help them become the creators of what they
want, why would you want to trade?”
But that really illustrates one of the key points that we
teach. You really need
to find your purpose in life and if you want to be successful as a
trader, then trading has to be part of that purpose.
At one point in my life, I regarded a hedge fund manager, who I had
been coaching for nearly 10 years, as our model trader.
I’d worked with him and his family and his employees during
that time. Everyone
seemed to love him. And
when I told him about my mission of helping people change, he said
to me, “Van, I transform lives too, by making people a lot of
money.” And based upon
what I was seeing, I believed him and that got me off track.
I started to think, “How can I help people make a lot of
money – including those who don’t seem to follow my advice?”
When you get off track from your purpose, the universe has a
way of correcting things. It
turned out that this client was a fraud, running a ponzi scheme,
which appeared on the cover of Barrons Weekly magazine in early 2000.
Even being a psychologist with prior training working with
sociopaths, I didn’t see this one coming at all.
My mistake cost me a lot of money and a lot of heartache.
But I also realized that I’d gotten off my purpose, which
is to help people transform their lives through a financial
metaphor. I think
we’ve now gotten back on track and great results are starting to
What we really do is work with those people who are receptive to doing
the necessary work and who believe in what we do.
Those are the people who love us and our goal is to help them
transform their lives. And
we have a lot of them.
When I realized that I was going to write this article, I asked some of
my Super Traders (especially those who were nearly finished or had
finished) to write a paragraph about their experiences in the
program and, most importantly, what they thought Van Tharp’s
purpose was in teaching them. Here
are the responses I got.
Freeman was the first person to enter into the new Super
program. He has
completed the program plus a one year extension and this is his
I am currently finishing up
my Super Trader program with Van Tharp and IITM that has spanned the
last three years. I felt it was worthwhile and useful to point out
what I think Van Tharp and IITM are all about as I reflect on the
completion of my program. While IITM holds itself out as a source
for high quality trading education, which it clearly provides in my
opinion, I believe Van’s primary mission is to help individuals
achieve personal transformation and he teaches it through the
financial metaphor of trading. I am living proof that Van is not
only fulfilling that mission, but he is also helping others achieve
success in their lives that they may have only dreamed about in the
past. Not only have I gone from being an unprofitable trader to a
consistently profitable trader, which is largely credited toward the
education and insight I have gained from Van and IITM, I have also
created a completely new life over the last two years as a result of
the personal work I did in the program. I went from being the
typical corporate employee, burnt out on the job and miserable in
general, to now being infinitely wealthy and owning my own company
as I pursue my dream career as a professional trader and real estate
investor. My family and I couldn’t be happier and it was all made
possible by the work I did with the help of Van and IITM, once I
committed to do so. I think it’s important to point out, though,
that while Van and IITM can put an immense amount of resources at
your disposal and help you learn how you can change your trading
results and your life, it is still up to the individual to commit to
the change and the work required putting those efforts to gainful
use. For those that are up to the challenge and truly committed to
producing enormous results in their lives, I couldn’t speak more
highly of IITM’s offerings as a means to doing so. I am eternally
grateful, not only for how they have helped me in my trading, but
more importantly…how they have helped me truly create and live my
dream life.—Rick Freeman, Palm
Pomicter is a physician who is just about to complete the program.
Here is Ed’s comment on the topic at hand.
first attended a Van Tharp/IITM workshop with the goal of improving
my trading and investing. What
I found, after that one workshop, was that Van could help me have a
happier and more fulfilling life.
The change in me, as a person, was something that my wife
noticed immediately. I
eventually joined the Super Trader Program, now with the goal of
learning the skills to take myself to higher and higher levels of
happiness and achievement. Trading
is certainly a part of this, and the freedom that trading affords me
to create the life that I want is tremendous.
My training with IITM has made me a much better trader in
terms of profitability, consistency, and the ability to continually
improve my skills. The
real benefits of working with Van and the whole IITM staff are much
greater than my trading. The
personal growth, the change in how I view the world and my part
in it, the happiness in my heart, the fearlessness with which
I approach each day, the generosity that I share with others, the
patience with which I parent, and the honesty with which I relate to
myself and my wife have all grown tremendously.
And I was a pretty together, successful and fun person to
view is that if someone is looking for a “trading guru” who is
going to tell them how to trade, look somewhere else.
If you are looking for somebody to help you really understand
trading, understand your role in your trading, improve your ability
to perform as a trader, and who can teach you the skills to take
yourself up a level or two or more in every area of your life, I
would say that IITM is the place to go.
In all of my education, from elementary school through
medical school and residency, I learned more truly important,
useful, and powerful information and skills through my work with
IITM than anywhere else. —Edward Pomicter,
MD , IITM Super Trader, PLC
Owner, Count de Monet, LLC
statement is from a Super Trader who also is about to finish his
program. I have not
given his name because of the steps he is about to take.
The financial markets have infatuated me from the first time I bought a
bond as a young boy. Ever since then, I have played in various
markets though I shied away from a financial career because I wanted
a fuller life than primarily pursuing mammon. Then I read The
Market Wizards where Dr. Van K. Tharp said top traders didn’t
view money as important. Really! Then what was it about
for top traders? Studying Van’s material over these last few years
has led me to understand how responsibility, psychology, and beliefs
underpin my trading results. Now I also appreciate that
emotions such as gratitude, love, and forgiveness affect how well I
trade. Van and his staff have helped me transform not only my
trading but my life. Most significantly, I am about to leave a
desirable position at a highly regarded company and trade
independently for a living. Such a move would have been
unthinkable before Van’s work helped me comprehend my nature, my
place in the universe, and the practice of excellence in trading.
For this, I am deeply grateful.
some final input from Robert Morton, who joined the Super Trader
program last year. I
think his input is important because it really emphasizes what I
think IITM’s mission
It is certainly true that IITM is an
educational company that provides very powerful information on the
keys to trading success. Examples of which are position sizing,
business planning, system design, etc. However to view it wholly as
an information imparter, like many educational pursuits, I believe
is missing the point. Throughout every element of IITM’s courses
& materials there is a culture of asking the participant much
broader questions. Questions that view trading from a more holistic
perspective, inseparable from other aspects of ones life such as
health, relationships, spiritual development, etc. This is often
weighty stuff but the results of being confronted by these broader
topics can be the catalyst for powerful paradigm shifts.
Personally speaking, this process has
already had a significant and positive impact on my life, and I am
far from completing my two year program. An example of the shifts
would be in relation to my goals. When I started with the objective
of becoming a successful self-employed trader my goals were all
monetary, literally percent signs and dollar signs. Now, through
exposure to these broader questions, I am aware of my life purpose.
A natural consequence of that realization is that my trading life is
much more congruent with my overall mission and surprise, surprise,
the profits are there, too!
IITM does not affect change to my
circumstances, nor does it even affect change to me directly;
however, what it does provide in a structured and supportive
environment are the tools for me to affect change to myself as I
choose. To sum up I would say that IITM provides no answers but asks
exactly the right questions. For that I am eternally grateful and
look forward to continually redefining myself in how I choose to
answer those questions.
Quite frequently we get statements from those of you who have taken our
material to heart, telling us about the profound changes that
you’ve made in your lives and thanking us.
I’m sure it’s part of what motivates my staff to do what
they do and it’s the juice that keeps me going.
I can’t ever imagine retiring because I just love doing
this. And your personal
transformations are what it’s all about for me. Here’s the link
to some of the comments we received in the last two weeks, click
here to read comments.
Editors Note: I can speak to Van’s
comments regarding client feedback and the motivation that it
injects into the Van Tharp Institute. I’ve worked with Van for
over ten years now…going on twelve years actually. I produce this
newsletter among many other duties here.
During all these years I bet there has not been a week that
has gone by that I didn’t have the privilege of hearing something
along the lines of “Van’s work changed my life.” And I don’t
even answer the phone very often or get the primary customer service
emails! I never get tired of hearing it and knowing that there is space in this crowded industry (finance, trading, etc) for people
like you to connect with someone like Van and experience powerful
positive changes. This motivates me and the rest of the staff in ways that
can’t be counted. So I’d just like to add that we appreciate you
and value your generous feedback! – Cathy Hasty
Tharp: Trading coach, and author, Dr. Van K. Tharp is widely
recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to
Financial Freedom 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 at www.iitm.com.
Markets Explode and Then…
by D.R. Barton, Jr.
something very unusual is brought to our attention, our
human nature usually takes over.
We are intrigued and want to learn more.
still remember discovering the World
Book Encyclopedia as a very young elementary school
world’s largest land animal (African elephant), the
fastest flyer (peregrine falcon), and the smallest mammal
(pygmy shrew) all intrigued my young mind.
Superlatives tend to do that.
when Dennis Gartman (author of his eponymous letter) said
that the wheat market is unlike he’s seen in 35 years,
my interest was piqued.
then my good friend and business partner Christopher
Castroviejo called me.
He described how the industry insiders (clearing
firms, exchange members, grain elevator operators, etc.)
were being put in harm’s way by the actions of
“outsiders” such as hedge funds, asset allocators and
pension funds who are jumping on the commodity train.
five straight limit up days and margin loans being called,
the insiders came to their own defense and changed the
this case by changing the limit moves in grains.) On
Monday, wheat opened limit up, then closed limit down!
Game officially changed.
have read stories about the westernization of the Asian
diet (especially in China and India, where more than a
third of the world’s people happen to live). Toss
in a few billion in ethanol subsidies and this combination
has driven demand for traditional grains through the roof.
seeing is believing – check out this chart of wheat:
for “mundane” wheat tripled in 18 months!
And skyrocketed 50% in just the last three months.
This certainly had the makings of a blow-off top.
now we get to the “so what” section…
the what: uncertainty
rears its head in all sorts of places.
The wheat market should
be dominated by supply and demand.
And certainly, no one is arguing that this market
has too much wheat. But
other forces tip the scales, even if on a temporary basis.
funds and hedge funds get enamored with agricultural
commodities and create non-consumption demand for
contracts to go along with real consumption driven demand.
An extremely unusual buying frenzy ensues that
leaves commodity insiders in the unusual position of being
on the short end of the stick.
So they use their influence to change the rules of
Christopher reminded me, the same thing happened when the
Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market.
Rules were changed to make buying silver extremely
traders and investors, we need to be ever vigilant –
can’t miss propositions have a way of running out of
tend to resolve themselves in a violent manner.
And the best weapon we have against uncertainty
that comes in the guise of changing market dynamics and
changing rules is keeping our risk size reasonable.
will continue to delve into uncertainty and look at
quantifying it, ignoring it, transferring it and living
with it. And I
would love to hear your stories on dealing with
you’ve had an experience dealing with uncertainty that
provided a great learning, a vexing question, or just a
good belly laugh, please forward it to me:
“drbarton” at “iitm.com.
” Let me know if I can use the story (either
anonymously or credited) in a future article.
D.R. Barton: 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 guest
on both Report on Business TV,
and WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest
His articles have appeared on SmartMoney.com and Financial Advisor magazine.
You may contact D.R. at
“drbarton” at “iitm.com”.
Melita's Inspirational Corner
Plan is it Anyway?
by Melita Hunt
Is there anyone out there that can
honestly say that their life has gone according to
Yet, we spend so much time
“planning” our lives. And whose plan is it anyway?
Right now I am in Australia, having a
break and seeing family after a hectic couple of months.
And today I just couldn’t get out of bed. In fact, I did
drag myself up to do some work on my computer for a few
hours but ultimately had to return to bed because my body
demanded it. And I couldn’t get up until 3pm! That
certainly wasn’t part of the “plan.”
My life at the moment is so far off
my supposed “plan” that it got me thinking as to what
it is that I really mean when I say that. If everything
had gone to “plan” then I guess that I would be
deliriously happy. I would be married to a charming loving
husband, I’d be a hugely successful world renowned
author, a mother of two well mannered children in perfect
health (just like me) with a spare $10 million hidden away
somewhere, and a couple of houses in various locale around
the world, to which I travel to regularly while I do my
charity work. Lovely plan.
Yet here I sit, single, writing an
article for a trading publication, with cancer, at my
mother’s house (my own Aussie residence is rented) ,
without kids, wondering where my millions have gone (and
who actually got them), and yet thankfully I can say that
I am deliriously happy.
Although things haven’t gone to
“plan,” I still have an abundance of dreams in place
that keep the fire alive and burning, and I always look
forward to the next round of adventures.
As long as I’m planning in the direction of those
dreams, I can overcome any hurdle or challenge that
appears along my path. In fact, maybe the “plan” for
me is something that I could never have imagined for
myself and perhaps life is turning out exactly as it is
meant to be. I certainly like to imagine that the greatest
things are yet to come.
I believe that as long as I feel
happy at least 51% of the time (and my percentage of
happiness is actually much higher than that), then I am
certain that I am heading in the right direction. Life is
going to be filled with ups and downs; I just work at
ensuring that the ups outweigh the downs.
So this week, I’d like you to think
about three things:
What are your plans or dreams for your
Do they fuel you and give you great energy?
What percentage of “happy” do you live
by and how can you improve that?
Regardless of the “plan,” that we
have for our lives, we still only have one life to live.
So you may as well head it in the direction of your dreams
and just be happy about it regardless of how it works out.
Didn’t someone somewhere say that
it’s all about the journey anyway?
Melita Hunt is
the CEO of the Van Tharp Institute. If you would like to
keep up with Melita’s progress regarding her recently
diagnosed lung cancer (she is a never-smoker). Please feel free to read her blog
You can contact Melita at firstname.lastname@example.org