Understanding Transformation by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.

van tharp bkA note to readers: While Dr. Tharp’s content is timeless, this article is from our newsletter archive and may contain outdated information, missing links or images.

Our mission at the Van Tharp Institute is transformation through a trading metaphor.  Today I want to share some thoughts on what that really means.

First, let’s look at the roots of the word transformation.   The center of the word is form and to me that refers to the physical form.  You might call that the body you inhabit.   When you identify with your body you do a number of things.  You limit yourself because you restrict yourself to a three dimensional form.

Let me give you a great example of a form statement — perhaps the ultimate form statement. Someone wrote us a letter criticizing one of the articles in the Trading Beyond the Matrix contest. In it, the person described the limitation of form perfectly by saying something like, “This stuff is total garbage.  I used to be into things like manifesting and abundance, but they never work.  Moreover, there was a huge cost to doing that.  It got me away from reality, from realizing that I am just a limited being living on a rock hurling through space.”   When I read that I thought, “Wow, if that’s what I believed, I would be really depressed.”  But that’s what happens when you totally identify with form.  You become very solid, very isolated, and very much into the limitations of the physical.

The second part of the word transformation is “trans” which means “to go beyond.”  And taken together we now have, “to be beyond form.”  How do you do that?  You do it through your beliefs.  The first level of transformation is to realize that you create your reality and your experience through your beliefs.  For example, you only trade your beliefs.  In fact, that’s part of the title of the book I’m currently writing.   As soon as you understand that, you start to move beyond form.  The transformation process starts with the markets becoming much less real as you realize they are created by your beliefs.  Your entire experience is created by your beliefs and that includes your experience of yourself.

In my upcoming book, I am interviewing people who have never traded — both young and near retirement.  Their beliefs about the markets, money, and themselves show why they have never traded.

I’m also interviewing several active traders who are not very successful. Again, their beliefs show why they have never been successful.1  Why? Because they have many non-useful beliefs about trading and the markets.  That’s why the first level of transformation is to adopt Tharp Think, a set of much more useful beliefs that lead toward success in trading.

Finally, the last part of the word transformation is the “ation” part which implies action.  As you begin to realize that you are a lot more than “a limited being on a rock hurling through space” —  then you must take action.  That action then enables you to go through deeper levels of transformation.

Here are the levels of transformation—

  •  Level 1:  Realize that you don’t trade the markets, you trade your beliefs about the markets and you can adopt a much more useful set of beliefs that we call Tharp Think.2
  • Level 2:  Realize that you are not a limited being, but rather that you create who you are by your beliefs. And as you believe that, you really move away from form because you understand the formless part of you can change with a simple thought.
  • Level 3:  Realize that as you begin to go through massive change, you will raise your level of consciousness.  This really means you become much happier as you move further and further from form.  People who complete the first phase of the Super Trader program (ST1) usually have happiness scores above 70, and often in the 80s.  That means that they completely understand that they are so much more than a limited being on a rock hurling through space.  At this point you will no longer be trading from a mental state like fear or greed, but from consciousness level of acceptance or possibly even love.
  • Level 4:  Realize that everything is one. You are not separate from anything.  When you really understand this, everything changes and you experience the ultimate transformation.  You will even understand what it means to be one with the markets.  As an example of what this can be like, read Chapter 16 of Trading Beyond the Matrix.

Originally, I had written an article on some new regulations that the US government recently enacted which have the potential to devastate the economy.  I believe the impact of that article, however, would have had the opposite effect of transformation – it would have moved people towards form and solidity.  Notice what happens when you think of something fearful – you move toward judgment which produces solidity in you.    On the other hand, someone who has done massive personal transformation work might realize that “what is” is perfect and may even present an opportunity to profit. That kind of realization requires several levels of transformation for most people, so start by working on your beliefs.

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