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What You Really Want
Van K. Tharp
I used to do an exercise in the Peak
Performance 101 workshop entitled “Getting What You Want”.
The exercise starts out with a question:
If you could have anything in the universe, what would it be?
Perhaps your answer might be $10 million dollars.
However, the exercise doesn’t end there.
It just triggers another question:
What would that get you?
So to carry our example forward, you’d now ask, “What
would the $10 million dollars get you?”
Perhaps you might answer, “Security… I’d feel secure in
It doesn’t end with that answer.
The second answer merely triggers another question:
What would that get you?
And to continue the example, you now ask, “What would
security get you?”
This process continues at least five times.
Each time you get an answer, the new question becomes,
“What would that (i.e., the answer to the last question) get you?
At the end of five iterations, I then survey the class for
what they have come up with at the end of their questions
What do you think everyone comes up with?
The answer is important because it really says a lot about
you. But before I give
you the results, do the exercise for yourself.
Answer each of the following questions.
1) If you could have anything in the universe,
what would it be? __________________
2) What would that (answer 1) get you?
3) What would that (answer 2) get you?
4) What would that (answer 3) get you?
5) What would that (answer 4) get you?
6) What would that (answer 5) get you?
I’m actually curious to know what percentage
of you started out with "trading success."
Perhaps a lot of you, but I doubt if anyone ended up there.
There are some universals about this exercise.
With five repetitions of the question about 90% of all people
end up with a mental state. Examples
of mental states include security, freedom, confidence, happiness,
etc. But we can take it
further. If you do
enough repetitions of the question, everyone ends up with a
universal mental state such as Oneness, Love, Ultimate Happiness,
interesting about the exercise is that it flat out tells you what
you really want! The
final answer is always one of those universal mental states (and
I’m not sure that they really are not all the same).
Yet what do we do with our lives?
We spend it pursuing things such as money, power, career or
perhaps trading success. But
that’s not what we really want.
And that’s true for everyone.
Now, what if there was a course that you could
take that would give you as a result of doing the course, one of
those ultimate states. Would
you want to take that course?
Well, let me tell you a true story about a man
named Lester Levinson. Lester
had advanced degrees and was a very successful entrepreneur.
In that sense, he was probably a lot like most of you.
However, he was very unhealthy.
One day his doctors basically said, “Lester, there is
really nothing we can do for you.
You are going to die in a few months.”
So Lester retreated to his Manhattan apartment to die.
But before he did so, he did an exercise similar to the one I
just took you through and concluded that what he really wanted out
of life was LOVE. He
looked at his life and concluded that he was the happiest when he
was LOVING, rather than when he felt people loved him.
As a result, Lester started a series of mental
exercises designed to help him be more loving.
And as he continued to do those exercises over the next few
months, he didn’t die. Instead,
some remarkable things happened:
all of the symptoms of his illness just disappeared.
And whenever something happened to his body he could heal
he found that he could materialize whatever he wanted just by
thinking about it. He
played with this for a while, soon materializing millions of
dollars worth of real estate.
But knowing that he could get those material things any
time he wanted them just by thinking about them, he soon lost
interest in them and just gave them away.
Besides, what he really wanted was LOVE and he was
getting that by being LOVING.
he basically started operating in the world at the level of a
very advanced spiritual being.
In the spirit of being loving, Lester started
to teach what he had learned. As
a result we all have that core process that Lester went through to
heal himself and become happy and loving available to us through a
series of five books entitled “Happiness
is Free.” Each
book is a seven week course, so the series is basically a 35 week
course on attaining happiness. And
if you do the course, I believe that you can attain a level of
happiness that is way beyond what you experience today or probably
what you’ve ever experienced. (We
have a few of these courses available for sale, click
here for more.)
However, I didn’t write this article to sell
these courses, but more to convey some very important points.
Logically, if you decided, after doing the exercise, that
what you ultimately wanted was love or happiness, then I would
expect that we’d get at least 1,000 orders for the course.
Of course, you’d have to believe that you’d actually get
“ultimate happiness” out of doing the course to order it.
And perhaps you don’t think you really want happiness or
perhaps you don’t think the course will help you attain it.
That’s a personal choice.
Anyway, I was so impressed with this course
initially, that I ordered a few sets and gave them to some very
special people associated with my company.
Later on, I then ordered ten more copies of the course to
sell. And interestingly
enough, we still have most (if not all) of them in stock.
Most people either don’t think that they want happiness or
they don’t believe that they can get it simply by completing a
course (i.e., doing all the exercises).
It’s rather amazing. This
is what people want but they are not likely to do anything about it.
I’m so fascinated by this process that I plan
to interview each of the people I gave the course to just to see
what they’ve done with it. I
haven’t done the interviews yet, but I think I know the results.
I’ll report the actual results to you later in another
article for Tharp's Thought's.
And I’ll also tell you about the exercise that I just
completed that motivated me to write this series of articles.
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.
Van Tharp 20% Off Sale Has Begun
know just what you want this year!
Here for a Full Listing of Sale Items
Peak Performance Home Study
How to Develop a Winning Trading System Home Study
Ugliest Word in Trading and Investing, Part II
by D.R. Barton, Jr.
a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of
human life would be destroyed."
-- Winston Churchill
The concept of uncertainty certainly touched a
nerve with lots of folks!
And it should.
received more e-mails about last week’s article than any
other I’ve written.
Keep those notes coming!
They inspire my creativity and send me off to do
more thinking and research.
The e-mail address is “drbarton” at “iitm.com.”
send an e-mail, take out the quotes, insert an @ symbol
instead of “at” and smash it all together. I had to do
something to try to get around the e-mail scraping bots.
In addition to all of the wonderful e-mail I got
from readers, I also got hundreds of e-mails PER DAY from
folks insisting that I invest in the latest killer penny
stock (a BIG no thanks), that I take up their offer for
online casino membership (same thing as above penny
stocks), that I get a new mortgage (like any bank out
there is writing new mortgages in this credit crunch
market!) and that I spice up my love life with various
elixirs, pills, potions and machinery (fill in your
favorite joke or one-liner here…).
back to uncertainty.
does this beast arouse such a universal response?
I think there are many reasons that a discussion on
uncertainty gets our collective juices flowing.
Here’s a quick and by no means comprehensive
list, in no particular order:
scares us to death - individually and collectively.
Think about uncertainty for a minute; for most of
us it represents a lack of control.
And we fear what we cannot control.
It’s interesting that almost all of the e-mail
responses that I received, at their core, were about
dealing with this fear.
delights us deep down in ways that we don’t quite
Winston Churchill quote at the top of this page is quite
insightful. Countless books have been written about a
future when society has, through various instruments and
techniques, tried to eliminate uncertainty.
We all turn into automatons and while fear is gone,
so is delight and joy.
Deep down, we get a thrill from “not knowing”
and from the anticipation of the unknown or unknowable.
This is the reason that many people keep trading
and investing even after multiple setbacks.
(For more insight into this joy of anticipation,
see the article linked below entitled “Trading and
drives our competitive nature.
Very few people watch ballgames where one team is
clearly overmatched. This
is true of pro sports and at the lowest level of little
we also get bored with problems that have very certain
outcomes: paying bills, washing dishes, etc.
Ah, but trading, call it what you will, is rarely
boring. (Actually at the highest level of trading, I’ve
often heard people say that when things are going best,
when everything is really clicking, that trading is
happens at times where things are going well and
uncertainty, for a time, seems to be have been overcome.
But it never lasts forever.) By our nature we love
tackling problems and jumping in to the fray.
And trading offers unlimited opportunities to
“jump into the fray”, whether that is by researching,
back testing, or actual trading.
will continue to dig 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.
this is the holiday season, I’ve appended one of my
favorite articles for you entitled “Trading and
It’s seasonally appropriate (of course), but it
is also directly related to our discussion on uncertainty.
I hope you enjoy it. Click
here to read it.
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 where he is one of the most widely read and followed traders and analysts in the world.
He is a regularly featured guest analyst on both Report on Business TV,
and WTOP News Radio in Washington, D. C., and has been a guest analyst on Bloomberg Radio.
His articles have appeared on SmartMoney.com and Financial Advisor magazine.
You may contact D.R. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melita's Inspirational Corner
by Melita Hunt
Last week while I was working, Mum
was invited to go out with a friend for the afternoon, no
plans, just to get together and find something fun to do.
I thought that that was a nice idea and assumed that we
would meet up with one another later in the evening, back
at my house.
“Enjoy yourself” I said as we
parted, but then suddenly she barraged me with questions
such as “Well what should we do? What will I wear? Where
should we go? What will we talk about? How will I meet up
with her? How will I get home? What if it rains?"
etc… I was
shocked for a brief moment because this was coming from my
mother who is quite capable of holding her own in any
situation, and then it dawned on me what the problem was.
She was in a foreign country, outside of her comfort zone,
and she needed all of the answers for every possible
outcome before she would even embark on her little
She had to know where she was going,
how she was getting there, what she was going to
experience, how long it would take, what time to come home,
and she was probably already thinking about what to make
for dinner that night.
The dutiful and protective
“planner” in her had kicked in.
And sometimes that planning part of us can really
take the fun out of a spur of the moment event. It is
always one step ahead of us, planning our next move.
I reminded her that she was missing
the whole idea of the afternoon. Who cares what she
did, where they went or how they were getting home? The
whole idea was to just live in the moment, have an
afternoon together and see what eventuated. When I
reminded her that she wasn’t in a third world country
and could call me at any time, reality clicked in, and she
realized that maybe she was getting a little worked up
about nothing. So she let it go, headed out and had a
great time. She stayed in the present moment and enjoyed
her afternoon, rather than living hours ahead of her time,
constantly thinking about getting home and making dinner.
How many of us do it?
Day in and day out, our minds are
always one step ahead of where we actually are in that
very moment. Take an average working day: When we are
getting showered and dressed in the morning, we’re
thinking of the traffic. When we’re in our morning
commute we’re thinking about work. When we get to work,
we’re thinking of lunch. As we each lunch we are wanting
the day to end. As we finally commute home, we want to be
OFF the train or out of the car and at home having dinner.
When we’re eating dinner, we’re talking about the day
that has just passed, or we’re wondering what to do with
the rest of the evening and what time to go to bed.
How often are we “in the moment?”
So as these holidays approach, I
would like to encourage you to let the planner part of you
have a break for a while. Thank it for always being so
diligent and having you organized. But for the holidays,
why not try something different?
Instead of having the whole holidays
completely planned out, why not just go with the flow and
be spontaneous? Do what you want to do with your time. No
rushing, no time limits. Just relax and enjoying
every moment. Sleep when you want to sleep, eat when you
want to eat, play for a while and drive to see the
relatives at a time that suits you.
Even if you find yourself out of your
comfort zone, delayed in an airport or stuck on a busy
road, vow to enjoy the experience. Do something
spontaneous, find out something new about your family,
talk to new people or look around and see new things.
It’s the planner that gets uptight in these situations
because they think “plans” are being ruined.
Really think about that…
Missing a plane here or there really
doesn’t matter. There will always be another plane to
Missing the “moments” in your
life and worrying about the things that you can’t change
is a much sadder proposition.
Enjoy your holidays! Every last
moment of them!
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. Please feel free to read her blog
You can contact Melita at email@example.com
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