How to Benefit from Our Trading Model, Parts 15-26 By Van Tharp, Ph.D.

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Let’s continue to explore the benefits of our educational programs at the Van Tharp Institute. Remember that one of our major goals is for you to develop Stage 5 Awareness in which you understand that your experience is an illusion that you create through your beliefs and judgments. By the time you reach stage 5, you should also find the joy inside of you and be happy for no reason.

Benefit 15: Design Your Dream Life So You Can Live It

When you design your dream life, you ask yourself questions such as:

  • What would I do if I only had six months to live? How about a month?
  • What do I really love to do? What gives me joy?
  • Who are the people I want in my life?
  • Where would you like to visit?
  • Is there anything I absolutely must have?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What are my top ten values? What is my purpose in life?

Once you’ve answered those questions, then the process to craft your dream life becomes easy. Then if you can live your dream life, would you want to do anything else?

Steps to Developing Your Dream Life:

1) You should be able to construct your dream life by going through my newest book, Moti-Maps: The Definitive Guide to Self-Propulsion and Getting Your Dream Life. Soon we will publish an eBook version of the book and an accompanying paperback workbook (to complete the exercises) that will also help you work on your dream life.

2) Developing a dream life is part of Peak 202: The Trader Reinvention Workshop.

3) The Super Trader Program Professional phase focuses heavily on coming up with a plan to create your dream life and I mention more about this in benefit 18 below.

Benefit 16: Understand Your Winning Strategies

Your winning strategy (and each of your parts may have a winning strategy) is your life-long but largely unconscious formula for achieving success in the world. It defines how you think and it fixes your attention on certain aspects of the environment. Its narrow focus limits your awareness about what is possible and limits what you can do and achieve – even though you have used it as your lifelong strategy for success. It’s a manifestation of who you are being, but as a result of using it, you will tend to stay in your comfort zone and avoid living on the edge (avoiding the unknown or what you think is impossible).Reaching for Trophy 1

Your winning strategy will basically determine, from the perspective of the part that has it, what’s wrong with others. The more effective your strategy has been in producing your success, the more it reinforces that there is something wrong with you or with everyone else.

The basic formula for the winning strategy is what we call The Universal Human Game. This game says the following:

1) There is a way that things should be. This statement is the antithesis of the idea that the “what is” is perfect. Instead, the statement defines perfection from a unique perspective rather than a oneness perspective which incorporates what’s best for all concerned.

2) Next, the universal human game says that if things are not that way, then there is something wrong with others, with the system, or in some cases with you.

3) Lastly, the universal human game says that you need to fix what’s wrong. For example, when you read the systems thinking section, did you suddenly think that all the things I mentioned need to be fixed? What if they all are in some way perfect?

You can probably understand why the universal human game helps most people stay in stage four consciousness or lower. The universal human game is how people at these four stages operate in life.

Now that you understand the universal human game, let’s move on to how to determine the winning strategy of a part. To effectively do so, you must ask the following three questions of each part:

1) What attracts your attention? What do you look for? Listen for?

2) What produces a successful result? And since most people playing the universal game are in stage four or lower, another question might be, what gives you power?

3) Finally, you must ask yourself, what that part’s purpose is in doing so? What is its desired outcome? Here you are looking for both the positive side (e.g., power) and the negative side (e.g., to avoid being significant)?

Just to make this even more clear, many of our clients come from engineering backgrounds. This might be the typical learning strategy of say their engineering part.

  • I look for what’s wrong or how it’s broken,
  • So as to fix it,
  • In order to get praise for a job well done and to avoid failure.

Does that seem like a reasonable strategy? Like something that would be useful and drive success? Then let’s take a look at some of the limitations of such a strategy –

1) First, you are always looking for what’s wrong. Your world is filled with the perspective of what’s wrong and that takes you away from seeing the beauty and perfection in everything.

2) Second, you try to fix the things that you see are wrong and thus, you avoid all of the other possibilities in any situation. You are always trying to fix things.

3) Third, you are looking for praise and you probably feel that you never get enough of it.

4) And fourth, you probably feel like a failure quite a bit.

Figuring out your winning strategies is an important part of the Peak Performance 202 Workshop. Your winning strategies are also part of ST Awakening Lesson 10 in which you are also asked to determine your five most significant parts in life and your five most important parts in trading. We then ask you to determine the winning strategy of all ten parts and the limitations of each strategy. You can probably imagine how eye-opening this exercise could be for you.

Hopefully, you can now see how horrible a life you could set up for yourself with such a winning strategy as above – or actually with any winning strategy.

Can you imagine how meaningful it would be for you if you determine the major parts running your life, the winning strategy of each part, and then being able to move beyond all of that? One way we help you do this is through the Trader Reinvention Game which we’ll discuss in Benefit #19.

Benefit 17: Learn the VTI Model of Games

A game consists of two or more players and a set of rules that generally define how the game is won or lost.

In order for a game to exist, you need the following:

  • A set of rules to define winning and losing and how to play the game. Rules can be optional or mandatory.
  • Punishment (perceived or real) for not following the rules.
  • People who are willing to play.
  • Domains of the game in which higher domains have more significant rules.
  • Awareness of the existence of each domain of the game. Most people are totally unaware of the game.
  • And, lastly, the quality that makes games unique for everyone is the role you play in the game.

Learn about the trading game, the wealth game, and all the other games you probably play in your life and are totally unaware of at this moment. As you begin to master games, you can invent your own game using the following formula:

My New Big Game:

My Purpose: __________________________________________________________

Name of Game: __________________________________________________________

Scope of Game: __________________________________________________________

How I Win (with measurements): __________________________________________________________

Date Complete: __________________________________________________________

Who Else is Involved: __________________________________________________________

Action Steps to Complete: __________________________________________________________

Is your game improbable or currently impossible? Does thinking about it make you anxious or put you out on the edge? If not, you are still safely in your comfort zone. Make the game impossible.

Here is an example of the game of self-transformation:

My Purpose: Raising my level of awareness.

Game: Reach Stage 5 on the VTI Consciousness Scale.

Scope of the Game: My whole life changes, including my business and my relationships with other people.

How I win (with measurements):

Happy Sunset Arms Out 1

  • I consistently score above 75 on the VTI Happiness Test.
  • My experience is that everything is an illusion and that is constant, but I then realize that I can create what’s useful for me without becoming attached to it.
  • If I occasionally judge something as being negative, my first reaction would be, “That’s interesting, how did I do that?”

Date Complete: Within three years.

Who Else is Involved: My family, the VTI staff, and everyone I interact with.

Action Steps to Complete

  • Complete all the lessons in Super Trader Foundation to get a great grounding in excellent trading.
  • Complete all the lessons in Super Trader Awakening to clear out all my parts, stored feelings, and non-useful beliefs.
  • Develop a trading business handbook in Super Trader Professional to help me achieve infinite wealth and success in trading.
  • Prove myself in Super Trader Graduate.

We go deep into the structure of games in our Peak Performance 202 Workshop and in the Infinite Wealth I Workshop, we explore one of the best games – wealth.

Benefit 18: Mastering the Trader Reinvention Game (TRG) and Using It to Create Your Dream Life

Ari Kiev became famous as a trading coach for his work with Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors. In fact, the trading coach in the TV show, Billions, was modeled after him. Kiev died at the age of 75 in 2009.

Dr. Kiev was a psychiatrist who got into sports coaching and before he began to coach Cohen’s group, he called me up wanting to know the secrets of working with traders. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, but I suggested that he study my Peak Performance Home Study Course for Traders and Investors. He bought the course and I never heard from him again. Later, I learned that his consulting rate was over $100,000 per day as compared with mine which is $25,000 per day, although we probably have different objectives. Mine, as you know by now, is to make people successful by raising their level of awareness. Kiev’s goal was most likely to make money. I doubt very much if I’d consider working with an institution now where both management and the traders had the primary goal of just making more money.

Anyway, when I saw that he was charging $100,000 per day for consulting, I became curious about what he was doing. I bought all of his books and discovered that his primary method of working with the hedge fund is through what I call the Trader Reinvention Game (TRG). We teach that technique in Peak Performance 202 Workshop.

The TRG gets people to focus on their purpose and their goals. First, however, you must understand that your winning strategy will never be enough and will always limit you so then you can focus on your dream life.

I’m going to outline the entire TRG procedure here and give you one example of actually going through the process.

There are four steps required to reinvent your being-ness as a trader and they constitute the TRG. The steps are as follows.

Reinvention Steps

1) Realize that you have nothing to lose. You truly don’t have anything to lose because your winning strategy will always limit you; you have no control over the “what is” or even the outcome of your actions, but the outcome is not the end. In addition, you will eventually die and there is nothing you can do about it.

2) Declare the future as a statement of being. Take a stand for something big, that seems impossible. Then notice, because you say it’s possible and take a stand, you can move toward creating it.

3) Invent your own game as is discussed in Benefit 21.

4) Build a highway from the impossible dream to a reality.

  1. Don’t interpret or give meaning to events that happen. See everything, each event, as a perfect stepping stone toward your dream.
  2. For each event that happens, ask yourself three questions:
      • What happened? The answer is always that a conversation took place.
      • What’s missing? It’s not about what should or should not have happened, but what’s missing to take me in the right direction.
      • What’s next? This is about making requests and promises that move your game forward into a conversation that takes place now.

We also teach the TRG as part of Peak Performance 204 and you invent your own game as a part of ST Awakening Lesson 10.

Benefit 19: Start Living on the Edge

Most people live in their comfort zone—in the middle of a box by which they define themselves. As a result, they limit themselves which means:

  • They stay asleep (consciously).
  • They never venture out of their circle/sphere.

The diagram below illustrates how this might look, although three-dimension spheres would be a better example.

1060 Your Comfort Zone 1

  • Everything interesting happens at the edge, including paradigm shifts and vast changes in your life.
  • Those who live on the edge are hanging out in the most dangerous and unstable places, yet they’re also the most powerful agents for change because this is where change happens. Major paradigm shifts happen here.
  • By living on edges, you can create the impossible (because it’s impossible from the center of your comfort zone).
  • Edges are points of intersection, which cause unique energies and forms to arise. What happens at the edges is too complex to control because they are dynamic and inherently unstable.
  • Edges are where everything happens. They are unique forms, which can only be described with fractal geometry.

Living on the edge is taught in our Peak Performance 202 Workshop. I don’t know of other sources for living on the edge but I can give you a series of exercises to help you explore your own edges. I’ll just give you three so that it doesn’t push you too much.

1) Go to your local mall or wherever you can find a lot of people and ask 25 of them for a hug. Get at least 25 hugs before you are done.

2) Stop and talk to at least 25 people and then do something special to make their day.

3) Stop and say thank you to 25 people and have a different reason for each thank you.

Benefit 20: Develop Powerful Self-Motivation to Overcome Obstacles That Appear to Block You

Your motivation depends upon four things: 1) your level of consciousness/awareness; 2) your purpose and values; 3) various motivational systems, and 4) what you focus upon. Let’s look at each of these separately.

1) Your level of consciousness

Let’s look at the first three levels of the VTI Consciousness scale and see how they are related to motivation. At level one, things seem to happen to you and you tend to believe that you are a victim. This tends to lead to fear, anger, and revenge – none of which will allow you to do much except harm yourself.

At the second level of consciousness, personal power, you feel in control. Thus, if you know what you want, you can motivate yourself to get there. The primary motivators for people at level two are money and power, but if you really start to look at your values, then your values become what motivate you.

When you reach awakening at the third level of consciousness, you understand that things happen through you. You see the perfection of what is; you understand that it’s all made up so you might as well make up something useful. You have found your internal guidance or the witness state; you are happy for no reason; and you have found your purpose in life. Suddenly, your purpose becomes the primary driving force in your life.

2) Your purpose and values

We discussed these above. When you are in control, your values motivate you; and when you reach awakening your purpose becomes your primary motivation.

3) Various motivational systems

In my book, Moti-Maps: The Definitive Guide for Self-Propulsion and Getting Your Dream Life, I identity a number of different systems which could influence your motivation. These include:

a) The qualities of how you represent things to yourself—what NLP calls submodalities. How you feel about something that’s big and getting bigger will likely be very different than something that’s small and moving away. Certain submodalities will feel motivating to you, while others have no effect on your motivation and others actually demotivate you.

b) You have a mental strategy that allows you to get to the submodalities that tend to motivate you.

c) You have a number of subconscious programs, called metaprograms, that influence how you organize your brain. For example, you could be an options person or you could be a procedures person. A procedures person must follow all the rules, whereas an options person can generate many ways to accomplish what is necessary. Someone who must follow the rules will have a totally different perspective than someone who can generate different ways to accomplish a task. There are about 20 metaprograms that can influence you in this way.

d) Your mental state. Your mental state is your state of being. If you are operating out of fear, your motivation is quite different than if you are operating out of excitement.

e) Your higher-level meanings. When I feel something negative, I almost immediately step into a higher frame that says, “That’s interesting, how did I produce that?” Now contrast that with some who says, “Oh no. This is so awful.” Which one do you think is more motivating?

f) Your values, as discussed above, determine who you are and what your life is like. Your top values drive you to become them.

g) Your perception of reality and your self-definition. Let me give you an illustration that should explain how important this is. I have the following beliefs:

      • The “what is” is perfect.
      • Even though my ego remains, because of my strong relationship with my Inner Guidance, I have access to Her perspective.
      • I am a systems thinker and I sort of understand how everything causes everything else.

Now contrast that with another perspective: Stuff happens to me, a limited being living on a rock hurling through space.

h) Your purpose in life. My purpose is to surrender to my Inner Guidance and just go with the flow and that tends to dominate my experience.

i) Procrastination and all the things that tend to block you from accomplishing what it is you want.

j) How you organize yourself and manage your time.

4) What you focus upon

When you find yourself blocked in your motivation, usually your focus is inappropriate for the motivation you want. While there are many areas of focus that block you, let’s focus on three main ones.

1) Lack of energy or chronic fatigue. I’ve been going through some of this lately and it can totally drain you of any motivation. Chronic fatigue develops when something becomes out of balance in your physical system. You need to find out what it is and bring it back into balance.

2) Overwhelm. Often, this just seems like too much work. The secret to overwhelm is to understand the big picture and then take it one step at a time.

3) Perfectionism typically means that you must get something perfect in order to have a final result. But some things will never be perfect. It’s very unlikely, for example, that you could ever publish a book without a single error in it. Instead, refocus the perfectionism. For example, you’ll never find a trading system that doesn’t lose, but you can find a trading system in which you are almost flawless in your execution making no mistakes.

The best source of information about motivation is in the Moti-Maps Book. It’s also covered in the last ST Foundation lesson (10) and in the last ST Awakening lesson (13).

Benefit 21: Develop a Business Trading Handbook That Will Ensure Your Success as Trader

Writing Handbook 1

Developing a trading business handbook is one of the most important tasks that you can do as a trader. You get to concentrate on obtaining infinite wealth, your dream life, your different money buckets, and everything else that is important to you.

Louise Alexander is currently writing her handbook in ST Professional and made the following comment about the process:

I wholeheartedly believe in Van’s teachings about the importance of a business handbook. Creating this handbook has been an incredibly useful process. It has forced me to sit down and spend focused effort thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish in my life and my trading. Both in my own life and in watching others, I believe that one of the hardest things is to be still and listen or think. I don’t know why this is. Why am I so much more comfortable crossing meaningless tasks off my to-do list than I am being quiet and thinking about my goals and desires? You would think that our favorite thing to do would be to consider our goals and desires, but that has not been my experience. We avoid the task at all costs. This leads to a life imagined by Lewis Carroll, when he said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will get you there.”

By contrast, writing and using this document on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis allows Super Traders to know exactly where we want to go. I’m finding that it guides my whole life, not just my trading activities. And what a cool idea — to have a handbook for my life. I have a dream life spelled out in this document, I have written about who I am now and who I have been historically, I’m writing about how I want to spend my money, which is really just a question of what type of life I want to lead.

I expect that the more care and effort I put into this handbook, the more useful it will be in guiding me through the next steps on my trading journey while keeping me oriented to my larger plans for my life and my family. My trading project is intended to support me living my purpose, and I believe that I can do that using the markets. I know that if I use my handbook as an evergreen document that I review on a regular, scheduled basis, that I will be able to use it as a reference guide and for inspiration when I come up against challenges in my trading.

Just as my purpose statement allows me to measure all of my feelings and decisions against whether I’m living my purpose, so will this handbook be a document which I can measure my life and my trading against to make sure that I’m on point and on track. If I’m off track, I can refer back to it. And if I’m on track, my regular use of my handbook will keep me that way. It is another part of the structure I’ve set up in my life to keep me at peace and happy in my life.

Completing your business handbook is an incredible accomplishment in the ST Professional phase. You can also accomplish this on your own by taking our Blueprint for Trading Success workshop. There is even an old outline of the possible content of the Trading Business Handbook in my book Trading Beyond the Matrix.

Benefit 22: Make at Least One Major Paradigm Shift Each Week for the Next Three Years

If you experienced a fundamental change in how you see the world, then you would have what I call a paradigm shift. When you change one of your paradigms, you open up a range of new possibilities for your personal and professional growth presenting you with more new opportunities than ever before. Here are a few examples:

  • Money is not real. It’s made up and when you really get this, you’ll figure out lots of ways to make money. For example, what if you developed a business idea that was worth a 100% return but due to a lack of funds, you could not afford to pursue the idea. That might stop someone who believed money is a real thing, however, if you believed that money is made up, then you might make up other ways to create that return. Maybe you could offer the idea to another investor for 50% of the profits – or even just 25% of the profits.
  • What if you have a belief that you are not worthwhile? You discover that shame is locking that belief in place so you do a feeling release and the charge disappears. Suddenly realize that you are worthwhile – and this changes everything about your life experience.
  • What if you fully understood the belief about different market types? What if you then discovered that designing a trading system for a sideways volatile market was quite an easy endeavor? That discovery allowed you to see how easy it would be to design great systems for each market type. Wouldn’t that change your trading forever?

Imagine the impact that those three paradigm shifts might have on your life. Now think, “What if I could make a paradigm shifts just as powerful as those each week for the next three years?” That would equate to 156 powerful paradigm shifts. Would that change everything? You can imagine how many changes in your life that could lead to because the impacts would be major.

My goal for you to experience at least 3 paradigm shifts in each of our workshops. My goal for the Super Traders is to experience 156 paradigm shifts in three years. That really is possible – that’s why we see such huge increases in happiness test scores and in the related level of consciousness for the Super Traders.

Best Sources for Paradigm Shifts


Trading Beyond the Matrix
Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom

If you want to make one paradigm shift a week, which would be impossible for most people playing the universal game, then I strongly suggest the VTI Super Trader Program.

Benefit 23: Infinite Wealth

Infinite Wealth is a new way to play the money game where anyone – and everyone – can win. Big Money wants you to believe their version of the game where you must have the most money or the most toys to win. This version of the game keeps you a slave forever. I remember a famous person saying in his Facebook post – “I get up every morning and I look at the Forbes 400 list and if I’m not on it, then I go to work.” And I posted back, “Why? When and if you make it onto the list, you’ll then decide you need to be number 1.” The post was taken down the next day.

The alternative to this game is one that everyone can win. All you need to do is make sure your passive income (income that perhaps requires less than 2 hours per day to achieve) is greater than your expenses. When you achieve that, you are basically financially free and you never have to work for money again.

The best sources for learning about infinite wealth are

Benefit 24: Learn How Big Money Trades and How Most Small Speculators Just Feed Them Money

I traded two times early in my life. In the early 1970s, I lost my entire trading account and then in 1982, just before I started consulting with investors and traders, I discovered I could lose more than I had in my account. At that time, it seemed that Wall Street just sent a signal out when Van traded to make sure he lost money. I was going through a “they got me again” mentality and not taking personal responsibility.

how big money trades vod 1 1I recently teamed up with one of my long-time clients, Chuck Whitman, who used to manage one of the largest market-making firms in the world—Infinium Capital Management. Chuck really understands how Big Money plays the game and we created a workshop based on that knowledge. We combined my systems thinking along with my understanding of how the market is a process turned into a noun (and thus made up) with Chuck’s understanding of how big money trades. We brought in some big names from various areas to help traders understand big money’s approach to the markets and trading.

The essence of that workshop was that four categories of market participants trade markets. Three of the four are big money and the last represents most of you.

1) Commercials. The company that issued the stock and the mutual fund that must buy the shares, or the oil producer versus the oil refiner. The people at these companies have a very deep understanding of their “product”, how the exchanges work, supply and demand, other commercials who are buying or selling and why, etc. This deep knowledge offers them huge advantages over most other market participants.

2) The large speculator. This might be a hedge fund or a big financial institution.

3) The market-maker or specialist. These people provide liquidity to the market.

4) The retail trader.

The first three all have huge edges and they all trade differently from the small speculator or retail trader. Here is a little bit about how each of them thinks.

  • Commercials really understand value. They buy and buy as prices go above fair value. As prices go below fair value, they sell and sell more. Occasionally, they are wrong and lose big but most of the time, they are doing the opposite of you and making a lot of money in the process.
  • Large speculators are in the business of investing money for themselves or their clients. They are looking for opportunities to invest and products that show a good return over time. They have a time horizon for their investment in which they want to be either in the market or out. That horizon could be days or years.
  • Market makers have built-in edges that typically makes them money whenever they trade. Market makers understand order flow completely and that drives their trading. They hedge their trades when they buy from you or sell to you. If they buy Microsoft, then they may sell Alphabet against it. If a large order comes in for ES, then they will sell one of the following immediately – SPY, NQ, QQQ, YM, DIA, VXX, etc. This allows them to handle any size order with the appropriate risk.

With these very brief descriptions, I’m just scratching the surface but you probably understand some important points: big money is often taking the other side of your trade and big money is consistently profitable. Without understanding how big money trades, what chance do you think you have of making big, consistent profits? The answer is probably slim to none.

Benefit 25: Understand the Loss Trap[1] and Make Sure You Don’t Fall into It

A very powerful, hidden trap called the loss trap lurks within the risk process. Its basic lesson:


Most of us are taught that winning is everything or the “only thing.” We can imagine the top football coaches telling their players that they must win. Yet when a team becomes defensive and concentrates on avoiding a loss, the team typically loses. How about the business executive who tells employees that they must win if they want to survive? In those situations, when winning is everything, people are likely to lose. When my son was eight, he was able to understand this lesson with respect to his soccer games. When his team was behind at halftime, and it was not okay to lose, then the team became fearful of losing and was even more likely to lose. When it was okay to lose, the team could perform at peak level and had a chance to win.

Taking losses goes against all of our cultural training. The loser is disrespected. The loser feels he or she is somehow inferior. Yet if there is one secret to becoming a winning trader, it is “To make it OK to lose.” You are playing a game and losing is part of the game.

The loss trap is similar to a toy that many of us played with as children—the Chinese Finger Trap. This toy is a four-inch woven straw cylinder, with an opening at each end just large enough for a finger. Once you insert a finger in each end, you are in the trap. The harder you try to pull to get your fingers out, the tighter the cylinder compresses around your fingers. Only when you let go and relax does the trap let go of you.

Similarly, the more a trader resists a loss, the tighter the loss trap becomes. Hidden factors keep him deep in the jaws of the trap as he struggles with the loss. The more the trader resists the losses, the more difficult it is to get away from them.

Consider someone who wants to make a killing in a speculative stock. First, he pays $5,000 for some stock, including transaction expenses. These transaction costs start the investment off at a loss; the trader is already in the trap. He has passed a critical point in time, the point of no return, where thinking often becomes irrational and “risk” takes on its real meaning.

Soon, the stock goes down in value to $4,300. The trader thinks to himself, “I have a loss, but it will turn around.” These are normal thoughts, resulting from his natural inclination to justify his stock purchase. As a result, he reasons, “I can afford to lose a few hundred dollars more to make a nice profit.” When people are in the loss trap, they avoid the sure loss and take an unwise gamble, which often leads to greater losses.

The stock goes down further, so that our friend only has $3,800. Now he has a considerable loss. Somehow, he reasons, the stock has gone down so far that it cannot possibly go down any more. Therefore, he can afford to risk a few hundred dollars more to make back his stake. The trader has now lost sight of his original profit goal, if he had one, and now wants to just break even on his trade.

What happens? The stock goes down to $2,500. Our trader cannot give up now. He has “spent” $2,500 on this investment. His stock must have bottomed now, so the risk of holding on to the stock is minimal—so he thinks. He holds on to his trade and soon only has $500 left.

Each possible loss that our trader envisions is compared against what has already been lost. Each time he imagines that his stock has reached rock bottom, he can envision no further risk. It can only go up. He already has so much at stake that he might as well just continue to hold it and with each loss the trap gets tighter. Unfortunately, the only way to get out of such a trap is to let go. Often, the trader is financially dead before he gets out of the trap.

Remember what a wise, old trader once said:

“It’s very difficult to trade if you’re not willing to lose. Almost impossible. It’s like wanting to be alive, always willing to breathe in, but not willing to breathe out.”

The trader who can take little losses because it is okay to lose, can compensate for them with big wins. But the trader who finds losing unacceptable will not take losses when they should be taken. As a result, the small loss becomes a big loss, and the big loss becomes a disaster. Few people can survive this kind of activity for long. Yet if they could just make it okay to take losses when they come, winning would become much easier.

The Peak Performance Home Study Course For Traders and Investors: Volume 1 covers the loss trap in depth.

Benefit 26: All Workshops are Held via Zoom and Online Correspondence So You’ll Have No Hotel or Travel Costs

Man Smiling Online LearningThis money-saving benefit helps people all over the world who can now participate in our workshops via Zoom. When we did in-person workshops before Covid-19, we’d usually schedule two or three workshops back-to-back with a one-day break in between. The advantage of this schedule was that you only had to make one trip to North Carolina to attend three workshops. Everyone was pretty brain-dead from the information overflow by the time they completed two or three workshops. In addition, I’m getting too old to want to be involved in nine days of workshops over just eleven days.

Now all our workshops are taught via Zoom which offer you the following benefits –

1) Workshops are no longer limited by the number of people. We used to be limited by the size of our training room to maybe 30 people but now can open each workshop up to as many people who are interested.

2) We have huge savings in the workshop production costs which we pass on to you in the form of lower workshop prices.

3) We can now make the workshop sessions 2-4 hours long and spread them out over several weeks. You now have time to absorb the material, do the homework, and really get a lot more out of the workshop as a result.

4) The Super Trader Program used to cost over $100,000 including travel costs for the workshops. We’ve been able to lower the cost of the program because of live-streaming workshops and travel costs have been eliminated.

Special Super Trader Offer: Get Super Trader Foundation and Super Trader Awakening Both for $30,000 and Have Two Years to Complete Them.

The mission of the Super Trader Program is to not only transform your trading but also your life. To accomplish that mission, you will commit to investing a substantial amount of your time, money, and effort over the next few years.

Regardless of your previous trading experience, you will work together with me and my team of coaches to define specific objectives for you to meet during the program and create a customized curriculum to help you reach those objectives. This is a self-study program with email-based coaching to make sure that you don’t skip important parts, understand the material, and get as much out of it as you possibly can.

There are four phases to the current Super Trader Program, and you are given a year to finish each one.

Super Trader Foundation (STF)

These are the fundamental lessons necessary for trading success. There are ten lessons which take an average of about 410 hours to complete. That’s little more than an hour per day to complete the program in a year. No workshops are required to complete these lessons but you are given access to all the workshops necessary to complete the next phase ST Awakening. During ST Foundation, you should be able to gain benefit 26 and begin cultivating from benefit 23. Also, if you take the workshops allowed, perhaps you can obtain benefits 16 through 20 – or at least get a good start on them.

I do not supervise the people in STF. Instead, we have Bruce Walicek, Gracia Roslow, Rui Lao, and Edwin Mercado as coaches. All of them have finished STA and are consultants for the Van Tharp Institute. Louise Alexander offers a recurring in-person coaching session on Saturdays to help those in STF.

Super Trader Awakening (STA)

The STA lessons help you realize most of the first 15 benefits, plus benefits 17-21, 27, and make a good start on 23 (along with some other benefits we have yet to discuss). The 13 lessons require about 750 hours to complete. Thus, you could complete STA in a year working about 15 hours per week.

Five workshops are required to complete the STA lessons and they include Peak 101, Peak 202, Peak 203, Infinite Wealth I, and How to Develop Winning Trading Systems That Fits You. Most people will have taken all of those workshops by the time they reach STA and you are free to repeat them during. I (Dr. Tharp) supervise the people going through STA.

Super Trader Professional (STP)

In STP, you complete a trading business handbook which could have as many as 15-20 chapters and as many as 200 pages. This is essential if you are to treat your trading as a business and the parts of the plan you most resist doing are probably the parts that you need to do the most.

Much of this material documents what you learned in STF and STA and we have sample chapters in the STP section of the Van Tharp Institute Basecamp. When I wrote my own business handbook last year, I was able to write a chapter per day which probably took me 6-8 hours each. I expect people in the program could write theirs in 2-3 months if they really apply themselves. ST Professional should provide you benefits 22, 25, 27 and perhaps all of 23. There are more benefits, of course, that we have not discussed extending the list to about 50.

In STP, you have access to our technical workshops where you can learn profitable trading systems (except for those that are privately owned by our technical staff – Ken Long, Gabriel Grammatidis, and Chuck Whitman. You have access to those at a discounted additional fee). STP could take you several years to complete if you get caught up in those courses and postpone writing your business handbook so we strongly encourage you to write it first and then feel free to revise it as you gain more technical knowledge.

In addition, there are STP lessons that involve new workshops – which you can take in the previous phases. First, the new Blueprint for Trading Success Workshop teaches the structure for your trading business handbook. Second, the lesson on mental strategies is now part of STP rather than STA. This requires our Mental Strategies Workshop (Peak 204) which is given every other year but you can take it as early as STF. If you need that workshop, we make it available as a video on demand program for you. Another lesson involves mastering systems thinking and taking the Trading Genius II Workshop. That workshop is also available as a video on demand course for STs.

Super Trader Graduate (STG)

In this phase, you will develop trading systems that lead you to financial freedom and you’ll learn how to manufacture R through mistake reduction. These are among the additional benefits that we’ll discuss in the next article. Your goal is for me to approve three documented and non-correlated systems. Once you have the three systems approved, then you have forever to graduate. Graduating means that you prove that you can trade those systems at 95% efficiency or better for more than 100 trades. I (Dr. Tharp) supervise this part of the program if you want to trade cryptocurrency systems or develop your own systems. If you pay to work with one of our technical instructors, then they will supervisor this part of the program for it.

Program Pricing

When all of our workshops were live in Cary, North Carolina or overseas, the cost of the ST Program had reached $30,000 per year and you had to pay for three years up front or in two six-month installments. When we transitioned to workshops via Zoom, we could reach people all over the world. In addition, your workshop costs dropped dramatically plus your travel costs dropped to zero. As a result, we dropped the price of the ST Foundation phase to $20,000 and each following phase costs $25,000 with a year allowed to complete each. Plus, you only had to pay for each program as you got to it rather than all three years up front.

It’s possible to do STF, STA, and STP in a year. Edwin Mercado did it in about nine months and Louise Alexander looks like she could do it all within a year. Let me give Louise’s example. She paid $25,000 up front to do STF and participated in the GBTC offer last year. She earned enough credits through that program to also pay for STA. She finished both programs in about 10 months and thinks she can finish her business handbook in two months. I’m rooting for her to do it. If she finishes STG within one year of starting STF, she will have completed the entire program and only had the pay her initial up-front payment.

STF and STA would normally cost $45,000. If you pay up front or in two installments six months apart, then you get two years to do both programs for $30,000 – or a $15,000 savings.

But you could get the entire program for $30,000 if you can duplicate what Louise has done, finish STF quickly and then do STA. By devoting 3-4 hours per day, you can easily do that. If you have a year or more left when you complete both, there is no charge for STP. If you can complete STP in the first year as well, then you get STG for free. Get your three systems approved within a year and then you have forever to complete the program – all for $30,000. And we’re also offering a lot more discounts for past purchased because you are signing up for both programs together.

Now there is a catch. You must finish STF within a year in order to be able to take STA as part of this program. But we are talking a little over an hour per day to finish STF in a year. A lot more details are given on our website and through this link.


[1] This material comes from the Peak Performance Home Study Course for Traders and Investors, Vol. 1 [pages 101- 104].

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