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Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter

February 13, 2008 — Issue #359
  
Article

Why Would Anyone Give Workshops if They Can Trade Well? by Van K. Tharp Ph.D.

Workshops

Only Chance to see Van in Singapore, and Australian Discount Expires soon...

Trading Tip

Grain Markets Explode and Then... – Part VI by D.R. Barton, Jr.

Melita's Corner

Whose Plan Is It Anyway? by Melita Hunt

Feature

Tharp’s Thoughts

Why Would Anyone Give Workshops if They Can Trade Well?

by 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 pour in.

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.

Rick Freeman was the first person to enter into the new Super Trader program.  He has completed the program plus a one year extension and this is his comment.

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 Harbor, FL

Ed Pomicter is a physician who is just about to complete the program.  Here is Ed’s comment on the topic at hand.

I 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 begin with!

 

My 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

This 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. 

Here’s 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 is.

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

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.

Workshops

Book Now For These Workshops

Peak Performance 101 March 1-3 Singapore
How to Develop a Winning Trading System March 7-9 Singapore
 
Blue Print for Trading Success March 14-16 Sydney, Australia
How to Develop a Winning Trading System March 28-30 Sydney, Australia
 
ETF and Mutual Fund Techniques March 29-31 Cary, North Carolina, USA
Excel and XLQ Programming (one-day) April 1 Cary, North Carolina, USA
How to Develop a Winning Trading System April 4-8 Cary, North Carolina, USA
 
Peak Performance 101 April 19-21 Cary, North Carolina, USA
Peak Performance 202 April 23-25 Cary, North Carolina, USA

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Trading Tip

Grain Markets Explode and Then…

by D.R. Barton, Jr.

When something very unusual is brought to our attention, our human nature usually takes over.  We are intrigued and want to learn more.

I still remember discovering the World Book Encyclopedia as a very young elementary school student.  The 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.

So 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.

And 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.

After five straight limit up days and margin loans being called, the insiders came to their own defense and changed the rules.  (In this case by changing the limit moves in grains.) On Monday, wheat opened limit up, then closed limit down!  Game officially changed.

Most 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.

But seeing is believing – check out this chart of wheat:

Prices 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. 

So now we get to the “so what” section…

Here’s 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.

Pension 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 the game. 

As 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 difficult. 

As traders and investors, we need to be ever vigilant – can’t miss propositions have a way of running out of steam.  Manias 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.

We 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 uncertainty.  If 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.

Great Trading!

D. R.

About 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 on Bloomberg Radio.  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

Whose Plan is it Anyway?

by Melita Hunt

Is there anyone out there that can honestly say that their life has gone according to “plan”?

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:

1.       What are your plans or dreams for your future?

2.       Do they fuel you and give you great energy?

3.       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 at www.myleftlung.com.

You can contact Melita at mel@iitm.com

Feedback

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Copyright 2008 the International Institute of Trading Mastery, Inc.

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