Happens When You Wake Up?
Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
lot of things are happening these days that suggest that something
major is happening in the world.
The US has our first ever black man as a presidential
it was to be either the first woman or the first black man.
When I graduated from high school, I would have guessed that
the possibility of the US having a black president in my lifetime
was zero. However,
I would have also said that the possibility of me being married to a
dark- skinned woman, living in the South, was also zero and that
happened 16 years ago.
also think that there is a possibility of a major change in the
world economic system soon.
If that happens, it will change everything.
Most people will find these changes very uncomfortable
because major change usually is uncomfortable.
In fact, some people have thought that I was being quite
negative in my market updates and my view of what was going on.
Well, you could make that assumption.
But I’m actually quite positive because I think major
change is happening that will, in the long run, help the human race.
let me describe a little more about what I’m talking about.
I have a great little book in my personal library by Jeffrey
Moses (with an introduction by Mother Teresa) that is entitled Oneness:
Great Principles Shared by All Religions.
And by the way, as a modeler, I tend to believe that the
shared principles are the key principles.
one of the key principles, one I’ve been telling people for years,
is that “IT IS BETTER TO EXAMINE THE SELF.”
Here is what Moses says:
activities and successes are based on our inner strength and
grow, it is necessary for us to recognize and correct our own
it is difficult to do this since we hide our shortcomings not only
from others but from ourselves.
we gain the ability to recognize and correct our own bad habits, we
begin to make rapid strides toward greater happiness and success in
all spheres of life.
Only by learning to admit our own faults can we become more
tolerant and loving to our fellow man and to his shortcomings.
Knowing Yourself Is Important to Trading Success
don’t trade the markets, you trade your beliefs about the
Thus, it is important to recognize the beliefs you are
trading and determine whether or not they are useful.
are optimal mental states for trading and there are very
detrimental states for trading.
The first step is to recognize your mental state so that
you can determine whether or not it supports you.
Most people just identify with their mental state and
thus don’t even recognize that they are being run by it.
order to trade, you must know who you are.
And when you know who you are, then you can develop or
adopt a trading system that fits you.
must know yourself before you begin trading.
And when you know yourself, you can develop objectives
that fit you and you can then use position sizing to meet those
objectives (and it is position sizing, not your system, that you
use to meet your objectives).
The quality of your system only indicates how easy it is
to use position sizing to meet your objectives.
however, I’m beginning to realize that there is a lot more.
If you’ve been working on the Peak
Performance Course, much of what you’ve been learning is the
structure of the ego and how to reprogram yourself to function at a
It’s like Neo (from the movie The Matrix) taking the
red pill instead of the blue pill.
Once you’ve taken the red pill, you can start reprogramming
yourself to do all sorts of super things.
there is a level beyond the red pill. That's what Neo realizes at the end of
the original Matrix movie.
He’s not part of the matrix at all.
He’s beyond the matrix.
And when he realizes that, his power becomes much greater
than anything in the matrix.
Although I’ve seen the answer for many years, I’m now
beginning to understand it from an experiential level.
I recently heard Eckhart Tolle say that there are two types
of consciousness, “object consciousness” and “space
Object consciousness identifies with the objects in
A thought or belief comes to you, and you believe that you
are that thought or belief or emotion.
For example, someone might say:
I am very
trading well today.
are all examples of object consciousness.
Information flows through you and you think that you are that
You are your beliefs.
You are your emotions.
You are the subpersonality that seems to be in control of you
at this time.
When someone is in total objective consciousness, they are
If your head is full of meaningless random thoughts and
energies, and if you think that’s who you are, then you
are in for a lot of pain and suffering.
you keep losing in the markets, and you suddenly adopt the belief
that your system is not good.
If you have that belief, then you’ll probably stop trading
you might become quite emotional about the belief, since it might be
charged by your reactions to the losses you incurred while trading
of the pain that comes from saying to yourself, “My system no
longer works – I’ve lost a lot of money.
I’m a big fool and I’ve lost a lot of money.
Oh, poor me!”
let’s look at that belief without the emotion. Your belief is that
your system no longer works.
If you’ve been trading a long term trend following system
in today’s market, you might have such a belief.
But wouldn’t a more useful belief be “I have a great
trend following system but it doesn’t work well in volatile
sideways and volatile downward markets”?
However, until you thoroughly examine the belief to determine
if it is useful, you will probably think it is a fact.
And if you think you are the belief, you will suffer a lot.
to a New Level – Space Consciousness
that beliefs are your filters to reality.
They shape your reality.
So it is important to continually look at your beliefs to see
if they support you.
In fact, most of the work I’ve been doing with traders over many,
many years, has been to simply have them look at their beliefs and
emotions so that they can reprogram themselves.
But such reprogramming is hard to do 1) if you think your
beliefs are facts (meaning they are real) and 2) if they are highly
usually had to get rid of a lot of charge to help people with
important belief changes.
However, I suspect that I’m going to be taking things to a
new level shortly by moving beyond such beliefs.
what do I mean by that?
Let’s take one more step now and look at what Eckhart Tolle
calls “space consciousness.”
By space consciousness, Tolle implies that you are not the
objects flowing though your consciousness at all.
You are the AWARENESS of those objects.
But you are so powerful at creating your life, that if you
decide that those objects (beliefs and emotions) are you, then you
will create that reality for yourself.
But if you decide that you are just the awareness of your
beliefs and emotions, then they are just things moving through you.
meditated for many years.
I’ve heard the statement that you are not your beliefs and
you are not your emotions.
But when you suddenly understand that from an experiential
viewpoint, it changes everything.
About Van 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.