YOU are the Holy Grail, Parts 1, 2 & 3 By, Libby Adams, Ph.D.

This article series was first published in 2008/2009

Part 1

What more common theme is there in trading than people looking for the Holy Grail? How many times do we hear these remarks from traders: “If I could JUST find the right system.” “If the market would just stop going sideways.”  “If I could just get the right entry.”

The market goes up—some people are making money while others are losing money.

The market goes down—some people are making money while others are losing money.

How do we explain the discrepancy in results? The market is the market.  How does one person make money while another is on the other end of the trade, losing money? Same market.  Same day.

Or how about this one: Two people are at the same workshop; they learn the exact same system and buy the same software.  One goes out and makes money, and the other loses.

What is the only variable in all of these examples? The individual.

We can’t expect the market to behave a certain way, but we can expect YOU to behave a certain way.  The only variable is YOU.

But the definition of “you” is not as clear as some might think.   Let me explain.   Most people have some awareness of a variety of “yous” that are talking in their head.  Perhaps we could call them “me, myself, and I.”  Let’s examine these three more closely.

I.     The “Big I”  (The Scout Up in the Crow’s Nest)

In our “me, myself, and I” equation, this would be the “I”   We could say that when it leaves your body, you’d be considered dead.  One of my 28-day course graduates, who was an ER doctor, told a story of a woman who had flatlined on the table.  When she came to, she was recounting details of what the doctors and nurses had been doing in their attempt to revive her.  The doctor said there was no way these things could have been seen from any vantage point other than floating above the scene.

Many people refer to this “I” as their Soul, Spirit, Higher Self, or Conscience.  It is a power source that is invisible and undeniably powerful.   An example of how this “I” operates is when we say, “I am happy to return this wallet to the lost and found.”  Or “I know that Fred was being rude, but I am going to be the bigger person.”  This “I” always takes you along the path of the high road.

If we were to use a ship metaphor, this “I” would be like a scout up in the crow’s nest of a ship who has a broad vantage point and can then communicate his observations to the captain below.  This “bird’s eye view” assists the Captain to make good decisions that generate desired results.  The ship steers a good course, as opposed to ending up on the rocks.

II.     The Conscious Mind or “regular I”  (The Captain of the Ship)

In our triad of “me, myself, and I” this would constitute the “me” aspect.  We refer to this as your conscious mind.  It uses logic and analysis to make choices and has free will.  It might be what you call the captain of the ship.  You make decisions such as “Should I trade the S&P or do I prefer the Russell.”  Your conscious mind is your “decider.”  You use this aspect a LOT in trading.

III.     The little “i”  (Some Members of the Crew Having a Mutiny)

This is the “myself” portion of our “me, myself and I” equation.   I write it as “my self”, separating the words.   This “separated self” or little “i” is actually a program that has separated from the Big I during our formative years as a result of believing faulty and erroneous information.  This misinformation might have come from the outside when a parent remarked, “You’ll never amount to anything” and you believed it.  From that time forward, this person might not try out for the school play or go out for track thinking” I won’t make it anyway, so why try?”

Another source of faulty information has its origin in our own self-talk:  things we tell ourselves.  For example, when we volunteered a wrong answer in school and the teacher loudly proclaimed that our answer was way off track, we might have thought “How could I be so stupid?” and decided never to participate in school again.

These programs continue to fire off unconsciously until we do our inner work.  That is exactly why Van’s curriculum includes so much education about trading psychology. Traders need to know how to discern which “I” is pulling the trigger when they trade and what to do if the wrong one is running the show!!

The Holy Grail, then, is trading with the scout and the captain in alignment—that is, the “I and me” in agreement.  In our ship metaphor, this translates to the scout shouting down sound information from the crow’s nest followed by the captain making good decisions based upon it.  That IS the Holy Grail.  You need to look no further than within.

The catch is that we must clear out and rid ourselves of the little “i”s steering us into the rocks. It is not useful to hear thoughts like, “What if this is another loser like the last two?” and then miss an opportunity by not taking the trade.

Part 2

In my previous article, YOU Are the Holy Grail, I wrote about the three expressions or aspects of YOU, using the analogy of a ship to make distinctions among the three versions of “you.”  I referred to them as “me, myself and I.”

I as the BIG I is the omniscient character up in the crow’s nest of the ship with a higher point of view.  This is the Holy Grail that everyone is looking for…outside of themselves.  The me is the Captain, which is in charge of making choices and decisions.  Myself refers to the little “i”s.  The little “i”s are the saboteurs; they are the parts that have faulty subconscious programming.

If the Holy Grail is YOU, then it’s imperative that you “Know Yourself!”  That phrase is the inscription that was written on the Oracle of Apollo of Delphi, Greece, 6th century B.C., so the notion has been around for a long time.

Why is it so important to know yourself?  That’s a fair question: your power and clear decisions come from within, from an inner self that is powerful and wise.  You must learn to use your strengths more effectively and at the same time develop an awareness of your weaknesses and learn how to overcome them.

Interestingly enough, you might automatically assume that you know yourself, but that definitely is not the case.  You actually have to study yourself! This is why there is such an emphasis on trading psychology at the Van Tharp Institute.

An aspect of knowing your self is gaining an understanding of your personality type.  Your personality type can cause you to win or lose in trading; you might have heard Van and me discussing this on one of his Psychology of Trading CDs.

We discuss both the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as well as the Enneagram.  I believe that between these two personality typology systems, all behavior can be accounted for.  The Myers-Briggs deals with “normal” behavior, and the Enneagram covers healthy, average and unhealthy behaviors.

Carl Jung, a noted Swiss psychiatrist, developed a theory of personality to explain the normal differences between healthy people.  He calls it your “psychological type.” Based on his observations, Jung concluded that differences in behavior result from people’s inborn tendencies to use their minds in different ways.  As people act on these tendencies, they develop patterns of behavior.  When YOU know your pattern of behavior, you can work at your peak.

Jung’s psychological type theory defines eight different patterns of normal behavior, or types.  These patterns of normal behavior result in preferences, which are divided into four groupings, or dichotomies.  It is vital to gain a very basic understanding of how your personality strengths and weaknesses impact your trading.

In this article, I can only briefly introduce the four dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs: Extravert/Introvert; Sensing/Intuition; Thinking/Feeling; and Judging/Perceiving.  Each dichotomy has its inherent strengths and weaknesses that need to be understood through further study. Here, I will present a simple explanation of what each dichotomy reveals.

The Extravert/Introvert dichotomy has to do with where people (traders) prefer to focus their attention and get energy Extraverts are energized by the outer environment and people and like to talk things out.  Introverts are energized by their inner world and like to work out ideas by thinking them through.

The Sensing/Intuition dichotomy refers to the way traders prefer to take in information.  Sensates are factual and concrete and they focus on details and specifics.  Intuitives see the big picture and patterns.

The Thinking/Feeling dichotomy has to do with how traders prefer to make decisions.  Thinking types are objective and solve problems with logic and analysis.  Feelers are subjective, display empathy and won’t make a decision until they assess its impact on people.

The Judging/Perceiving dichotomy addresses how traders deal with the outer world.  Judgers (having nothing to do with the word “judgmental”) prefer to operate in a systematic way, get closure and want control over their life.  Perceivers like to stay open to change and possibilities and let life happen.

So, what does personality type have to do with trading?  Personality type influences your thoughts, emotions and actions.  Because your thoughts, emotions, and actions (TEA) drive your trading performance, they must be consistent with achieving good trading results.  Have you ever been in the market and not followed your plan because some emotion came up and seemed to take over your thoughts?  That’s one of those little “i”s at work.  That is a weakness that needs to and can be overcome.

Let me give you an example of how a personality strength/weakness can actually lead one astray and away from his/her system.  I was working with a trader a few months ago who was having difficulty following his system.  A lack of trust had arisen that was related to his being a thinker-type on the Myers-Briggs.  Usually, we see thinking and analysis as wonderful traits and positive assets for a trader.  However, thinking can be a double-edged sword.

For this trader, sometimes his thinking was causing him not to follow the rules of his system. When events transpired in the market, instead of just following his system, he would begin to over-analyze the situation.  The more he analyzed, he would come to the conclusion that he knew better than his system, and he would throw out the rules and consequently lose money.  We had to work with the part of himself that was relying on his own thoughts and over-analytical assessments instead of his tried and true (back-tested) system.  Through our work together, he learned to use his analysis to his advantage as well as trust his system to do what it was designed to do.

Both Van and I emphasize the importance of knowing your personality strengths. When you are armed with that knowledge, you can then capitalize on your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses.  Of course, it takes self-understanding and inner work.  However, the reward is that you then have a definite edge in trading.  Have you already discovered through your own experience that your personality weaknesses are costing you money? Are you ready to take charge and fully utilize the YOU that is your personal Holy Grail?

I have alluded to the Myers-Briggs as one system of personality typing.  There is another typology system called the Enneagram, which literally reveals a map of trading psychology.  It is important to be able to locate where you currently are on that map and to know how to move closer to your destination of consistently profitable trading.

Part 3

Recently, I returned from co-teaching Peak 202 in Sydney, Australia with Van.  It was an extraordinary group of people and we witnessed a tremendous amount of transformation in the participants during the workshop.

Have you noticed that there is a common thread that runs throughout the IITM educational courses?  That thread is clearly outlined as a key concept of the Blueprint workshop: you need to assess your beliefs about trading and yourself.

WHY?  What does that have to do with trading?  Why not get some more good trading techniques?  Isn’t that what people want and need?

In order to start answering that question, I’m actually going to take the liberty of quoting from the Q and A section of the information you would find when you are reading about the Peak 101 workshop.  This information is something every trader has to seriously ponder:

“There are possibly more trading techniques available than can be counted. One technique may earn one trader a fortune but cause another to go bankrupt. The difference in the results lies within the trader; how the person processes information, inner conflicts that can cause confusion, or the lack of discipline to follow their trading plan. Showing traders and investors how to develop skills and awareness on the issues from within are at the core of this highly effective course.”

In Part I of the series YOU are the Holy Grail (April 23, 2008), I asked how we could account for the discrepancy in outcomes among traders using the same technique. I concluded that there were three aspects of yourself that needed to work in alignment.

In Part II (October 22, 2008), I discussed the importance of personality type and its effects on trading results.  I went on to say that if the Holy Grail is YOU, then it’s imperative that you “Know Yourself!”  That phrase is the inscription that was written on the Oracle of Apollo of Delphi, Greece, 6th century B.C., so the notion has been around for a long time.

So, why is it so important to know yourself?  That’s a fair question. Your clarity comes from within, from an inner self that is powerful and wise.  You must learn to use your strengths more effectively and at the same time develop an awareness of your weaknesses and learn how to overcome them.

Interestingly enough, you might automatically assume that you know yourself, but that definitely is not the case.  You actually have to study yourself! This is why there is such an emphasis on trading psychology at the Van Tharp Institute.

In this article, Part III, in addition to beliefs about yourself and the market, I would like to ask you if you have ever stopped to consider and examine your SPIRITUAL BELIEFS. What work are you doing with the Spiritual aspect of yourself, or what I call the “Big I”?

Wayne Dyer, Ph.D. states, “We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.”  Do you believe that is true?  That is his spiritual belief. What are yours?  Do your SPIRITUAL beliefs impact your trading results?   You tell me.  If you have a belief in a benevolent Higher Power that you trust to guide you and always support you non-judgmentally, might that be a calming influence when you are trading?   For example, let’s say you are in a trade that is going against you, might you think, “Well, this isn’t looking so good at the moment, but I know that everything will be okay, regardless of the outcome.  I’ll just keep following my system.”  Because of your calm state, you remember that every system is going to have losers, and this just might be one of them, which means you are that much closer to your next winner.

If you had a belief in a wrathful, critical and judgmental type of “God”, could that belief bleed into your thoughts when you are trading?   Again, let’s take the scenario of a trader in a position that is going against him/her.   Having a belief in this type of wrathful “God” could create an extreme fear of criticism and failure.  As a result,  the trader might get out of the trade before the stop is even hit to avoid making a mistake, only to see the trade turn around and hit the target.  That, by the way, is a scenario I affectionately call “Trader’s Hell.”

When I’m working with traders in my consulting course, we examine the individual spiritual beliefs and allow each student to create what I call, “The Gospel according to Fred” or “The Gospel according to Stacey.”   Doesn’t it make sense to have spiritual beliefs that empower you?  Where did you get those beliefs, anyway?  Must you keep them, or can they be changed? Of course they can, and, in fact, MUST be changed if they are not empowering you to get the results you want, not only in trading, but in life.

I call the process of this self-examination “Transformational Education.”  This type of learning is designed to change you as a person. Traditional education provides us with knowledge, but most often is not life-changing. For example, when a person takes a course in geography, upon completion he/she is basically the same person. They have simply increased the amount of data in their possession.

On the other hand, when a person completes a course in Transformational Education, they are not the same. They have expanded their consciousness, changed their limiting beliefs, and are a different, more evolved person. These changes enable them to live more satisfying, fulfilling and successful lives. They can live to their full potential.

Transformational Education is an integrated approach to the study and transformation of the self into the SELF. It uses a combination of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual processes to accomplish change. One of the core tools I have developed is Transformational Meditation™.  This exercise allows students to eliminate the barriers that are preventing them from expressing the wholeness of the SELF. Since Transformational Meditation creates new, positive, unconscious beliefs, current limiting beliefs are eliminated, along with the accompanying negative emotions and unwanted or destructive behaviors. This technique allows students to tap into their inner awareness, that place where their own answers are found: the SELF, the Holy Grail.

When Van and I were teaching Peak 202 in Australia, we spoke about the importance of spiritual beliefs with the participants and we specifically discussed some of the ideas put forth by noted authors Neale Donald Walsch and Gary Renard on the topic.

And as synchronicity would have it,  I am being interviewed on March 31st  in a teleseminar series called “Healing with the Masters”, hosted by acclaimed author, healer and speaker, Jennifer McLean.  In addition to myself, renowned leaders such as the aforementioned Neale Donald Walsch and Gary Renard will be interviewed, along with Jack Canfield, Gregg Braden, and Eric Pearl, plus 18 more.

What’s great is that this12-week interview series is free of charge!  It provides you access to 24 of the world’s leading experts in spirituality, wellness and healing.  They are providing an intimate portrait of how they achieved success in their respective fields as well as giving you personal insights on how you can easily accelerate your own consciousness and evolution. I want to re-emphasize the correlation between consciousness and masterful trading, so this is a great opportunity to focus in on this area.  You can enroll at www.healingrelease.com.

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