What is Involved in Peak Performance Trading

by Van K. Tharp

October 17, 2018

A 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 Tharp’s content is timeless, this article is from our newsletter archive and may contain outdated information, missing links or images.

There is so much involved in developing peak performance, that I recommend that all traders have a business plan. We recommend that the business plan cover all of the following areas.

  • Your vision.
  • Your purpose.
  • Your objectives.
  • A thorough self-assessment of your strengths and weakness, based upon real trading logs that you collect (if you haven’t done so already).
  • A thorough assessment of the big picture of the fundamentals.
  • A complete understanding of your beliefs about the market.
  • Procedures for getting empowering beliefs and mental states behind you.
  • A documentation of your research procedure for developing new systems and determining how to analyze their effectiveness.
  • Your procedures for developing and maintaining discipline.
  • Your budget and cashflow systems.
  • Other necessary systems such as marketing, back office record keeping, etc.
  • Your worst-case contingency plan.
  • System 1 – which is compatible with the big picture.
  • System 2 – which is also compatible with the big picture.
  • System 3 – which might come into play should the big picture change.

If you have all of those things, then you have a chance of doing well. But this means that your business plan becomes a tool for you to continually use to improve yourself and your trading. All of these topics were covered in some detail in our teleconference on business planning, and you can now get that series on CDs—including some sample plans that I critiqued during the last session.

You will notice that at the top of the list I include “vision.” One of the keys to real success in trading is commitment. Before I coach a trader, I look for commitment. Those who are not committed to do what it takes, usually commit financial suicide when they try to be full time traders. Now, I have no idea how to give people commitment. It’s more like something they are born with—not something I can coach.

However, I do have some clues to how you can develop it in yourself. The key to doing so is to develop your vision and purpose. Your vision is your dream life. What do you really want to accomplish, be, and have in your life to know that you’ve done your best? What is your dream life? I’d write this out in detail.

And you also want the purpose behind the dream life. What are the “whys” in your life? This is what gives it the real motivation and commitment. Why do you want the things you want? Write down as many whys as possible. You’ll know you have it correct when you are so excited about your dream life that you must do something right now.

So get started this week with just this one aspect of developing your business plan for trading or investing…start by writing out your vision.

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