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, 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.
Dr. Van K Tharp
Peak Performance Course for Investors and Traders
This home study course is Dr. Tharp’s masterpiece. It’s designed for all levels of investors and traders – beginners, advanced, unsuccessful traders seeking to improve their performance, and successful traders who want to be more successful.