Self-Sabotage in Trading is Not Pursuing Happiness By, Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.

van tharp bk

Editor’s Note: This article was partially excerpted from the 2010 archives.

Dr. Tharp wrote this article after developing a new workshop with exercises and processes designed to accelerate happiness.

For the last ten years, I have relied on three different models to help people understand self-sabotage.

The matrix model says, “You are programmed to do non-useful things and you must undo the programming.” While this model works, it cannot really explain a lot of things that I’ve observed in witnessing many transformations.

In the second model, we experience self-sabotage when we don’t own our creations. In this instance, we create a part of ourselves to carry out certain positive intentions but then we forget about the intention and then that part does things on its own that are incongruent with our best interests. We also disown our feelings but then the feelings can start to own us. For a long time, I’ve said this is the best model for traders to use to improve themselves.

More recently, I’ve decided that self-sabotage very simply happens anytime you do not “pursue your bliss.” This is the third model.

Do you realize that most people pursue goals simply because they want love, happiness, oneness, and connection? They think that achieving their goals (including trading success) will bring these qualities to them.

Happiness, however, is a natural state that does not require an accomplishment. I have learned that most of us actually block happiness believing that we have to pursue activities and things in the external world to get it. In reality, however, happiness is your true nature, it’s who or how we are naturally.

Okay, but what does happiness have to do with trading?

BEINGNESS is much more important than doing or having as I suggest many times in the Peak Performance Home Study Course. If you want trading success, you need to step into what it’s like to be a good trader, a successful trader. As you move toward happiness, one of the miracles is that you naturally see the markets for what they are. You do what is necessary to make money and do so with little effort. But in these cases, happiness is already there as a background state.

I’ve been reading a book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project in which the author details her experiences during a year of pursuing happiness. Some of the information from that book is quite fascinating. For example, she says that research (no reference cited) shows that:

  • Being happy can make a big difference in your work life. Happy people work more hours each week—and they work more in their free time, too. They tend to be more cooperative, less self-centered, and more willing to help other people—say, by sharing information or pitching in to help a colleague. Then, because they’ve helped others, others tend to help them. Also, they work better with others, because people prefer to be around happier people.
  • Being happy can also help you make more money. Students who were happy as college freshmen were earning more money in their mid-thirties—without any wealth advantage to start.

To help others understand more about the concept of happiness, I designed the Peak Performance 203 workshop. Many of my Super Traders attended the first workshop and described it as perhaps the most life-changing workshop they’ve ever taken. That tells me the workshop did what I designed it to do.

I’ve already seen evidence through some of our Super Traders that happiness can have a dramatic effect on trading results. Thus, I’m eager to do a lot more of these workshops.

The reality is that happiness is your true nature. The Peak 203 workshop will help you live this rather and reap the full benefits rather than just grasp it at a conceptual level.


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