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Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter

  • Article: Self-Mastery by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
  • Workshops: $700 Discount Expires Today on Day Trading Workshop
  • Tip: Greece — The Game of Chicken by D. R. Barton, Jr.
  • Matrix Contest: Enter For a Chance to Win a Free Workshop!

NEW! Swing Trading Systems E-Learning Course —

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Swing with Ken Long We are excited to announce that our new Swing Trading Systems home study course is now available! Learn with Dr. Ken Long as he teaches his Swing Trading Systems Workshop via streaming video!

Frequently, we hear from students that are ready to continue their trading education, but cannot always travel to attend some of our live workshops. Time and time again, many of you have mentioned how great it would be if some of our courses were offered online, and we are happy to announce that we have a brand new course for you!

This new e-learning course includes Ken Long's Swing Trading Workshop, 5 swing trading systems and a bonus workshop featuring Van Tharp on Tharp Think principles. The course also includes extensive downloadable files to support your learning.

The live Swing Trading Workshop cost was $3,995 (discounted to $3,295 during early registration). The online version is significantly less, at $2,540. Yet the course teaches the same profitable systems AND you get to stream an entire bonus Tharp Think workshop for no extra charge. You can complete this course at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home or office and access the materials as many times as you wish during your 1 year subscription period.

Take a look at this video from Ken to learn more about this course.

We have extensive information about the Swing Trading System e-learning course, including how to the link below!

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Feature Article



by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.

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When I was in 4th grade, my parents applied for me to attend a famous school in Switzerland but I was rejected because of my grades. In hindsight, I’m glad I was rejected because it changed everything for me. Suddenly grades were important. My best friend in school, Mike Stewart, had an IQ of about 160 and he always got straight A’s. Mike became my first role model. “How did he do it?” became my primary focus.

I began to learn what he did and copy it. And at first it seemed like a lot of work, but I remember when I got straight A’s in high school thinking, “This isn’t really too hard. I don’t know why everyone can’t do it.”

Part of what I learned about getting good grades was to really get excited about what I was learning. If that was difficult overall, I could find some part of the material I was learning that really excited me. I remember my first application of this really clearly because we lived in England and one year, I was in a geography class. My Mom and I took a trip to Bath (where the old Roman baths were located) and to Stonehenge which made geography and those places come alive for me. I wrote up a report about the trip which was full of pictures and I’m sure my excitement about it spilled over into the report. That was the first A that I can remember earning. And I was like, “Wow, get interested and excited about something and then it’s easy.”

That’s a very simple example of gaining mastery, the topic I chose to write about today. Another current example of mastery, self-mastery is the first part of the Super Trader program (ST1). I’ve put together 21 lessons that take about 1200 hours (average ST data) to complete to meet my criteria for passing. I’ve noticed, however, that some people do a lot more work than just for passing; others do just enough to get by; while others run into obstacles, dance with the obstacles, and just don’t get very far.

Think of a time in your life when you really mastered something – some skill, some knowledge, perhaps your profession, perhaps some time at school when you really mastered some area – and remember what that was like? How did you know you mastered it? And if you made a decision to master something, what were the criteria that had to be met before you knew you had mastered it?

In one of the Peak 204 exercises — the Modeling and Mental Strategies Workshop coming up in August — I ask everyone to detail their criteria for how they know they’ve done a good job. For some of my Super Traders, that’s probably when I tell them they’ve passed the lesson. But others have internally generated criteria beyond just “passing” and those are the few (depending on the nature of their criteria) who can really achieve mastery.

I believe it’s important for me to know my own criteria for mastery before I can expect my students to achieve it so I look for personal examples. As a college undergraduate, my goal was to get an A in each class. That didn’t demonstrate mastery necessarily but I can see my criteria for mastery in this formula. To get an A in a college class I had the following strategy:

  1) I would figure out what the professor/teacher wanted as a minimal requirement.
  2) I would also figure out what he/she considered excellent – which was usually obvious if you paid attention. Excellent usually meant doing things that the other students didn’t do (for example the way some of my Super Traders go all out and way beyond what is required for their ST lessons).
  3) And when I understood points 1 and 2, then I’d do 2.
Now here is where it gets interesting. If something really interested me, then I’d want more than just an A, I’d want mastery in the subject. To me, mastery meant:
  That I’d really “get it.”
  That I took it to another level.
  That I understood it at a different level than anyone else and,
  That I’d get to the point where I could actually teach it.

These criteria have stuck with me in creating The Van Tharp Institute. For example, I have some new models which I think could dramatically improve my modeling work and my ability to help others. Even though I’m in my late 60s now, these new models I’ve discovered have me feeling like a kid again and I’m really excited about it and highly motivated to get everything in place. For example, some of this new material will be introduced to the Super Traders in Peak 204 next month and more will come out at the Super Trader Summit in December.

A key to self-mastery is understanding that it is all within you – your whole reality is within you. Furthermore, when you are excited about something, there is a key detail in your representation of the world that lets you know you have it. NLP calls these details submodalities and Neurosemantics calls them metamodalities. So what is my key submodality for letting me know that I have it? It’s the feeling of excitement. There is a feeling in my throat of wanting to tell the world, a tingling that wants expression. In addition, my whole body feels light. I want to just start dancing and laughing.

So if you really get what I’m talking about, it will change your life. If you want to master trading, then you must master yourself. And when you master yourself, you become happier, lighter, you laugh more, and you can get an incredible amount done. Mastering anything else merely flows from the intention to do it.

Just answering these questions can make a dramatic difference in your life:

  1. What are your criteria for knowing you have done a good job? What would you have to add to that to produce mastery of something? How do you know when you have mastery?
  2. If you have mastery, especially mastery of yourself, what would it mean to you/about you? What does it mean to be a master at something? What would it mean to be a master of yourself?
  3. What would self-mastery tell you about your skills and resources?
  4. What would self-mastery tell you about the worlds you wish to enter?
  5. What would self-mastery mean in terms of your relationship to others?
  6. What would self-mastery mean in terms of time?
  7. How would self-mastery change your relationship with God? (or if you don’t believe in God, then whatever you believe about the universe)
  8. How would self-mastery empower your Intention for meeting your goals and your purpose in life?
  9. What state would be required for all of this to happen?
  10. If you mastered yourself, what would happen with your trading?

Please write out the answers to those questions like someone who wants wants self-mastery and must get those questions answered to know how to get it. And once you have done that and read over your list, think about how self-mastery would impact your trading. What are the next steps for you to make this happen?

Our mission is transformation through a trading metaphor. If you do the exercise, then please let us know what impact this has on you.

Thank you.

About the Author: Trading coach and author Van K. Tharp, Ph.D. is widely recognized for his best-selling books and outstanding Peak Performance Home Study Program—a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at His new book, Trading Beyond The Matrix, is available now at

Update to the Super Trader Program

Recently, Dr. Tharp announced a price increase coming soon for the Super Trader Program. And, you still have time to apply and be accepted into the program at the current rates!

There is still an opportunity to attend a qualifying workshop before the price increase. To be considered for the program take The Peak Performance 101 course this August.

Click here to read more and see the deadline for the old prices...




$700 Early Enrollment Discount Expires TODAY on
Ken Long's Day Trading Systems Workshops

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Day Trading Systems Workshop

with Ken Long

July 13-14

Live Trading Workshop

with Ken Long

August 7-9

Peak Performance 101 Workshop

with Van Tharp and RJ Hixson

August 11-13

New! Modeling Great Trading Through
Mental Strategies (Peak 204)

with Van Tharp

September - In Germany
September 11-13

Forex Trading System

with Gabriel Grammatidis

September 14-15

Live Forex Trading

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September - In Cary
September 26-27

Oneness Awakening Weekend

with Van Tharp and Rebecca Price

October 9-11

Peak Performance 101 Workshop

with Van Tharp and RJ Hixson

October 13-16

Peak Performance 202 Workshop

with Van Tharp, Lilbby Adams and RJ Hixson

November 6-8

Day Trading Systems Workshop

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November 9-10

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Trading in a Bear Market Workshop

with Mark McDowell

Combo Discounts available for all back-to-back workshops!

See our workshop page for details.

Trading Tip

Van Tharp

Greece — The Game of Chicken

by D. R. Barton, Jr.

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There has been practically nothing on business TV this week except for updates, analysis, and innuendoes on what’s happening in Greece. And rightfully so — a bad ending to the game could have a widespread destabilizing effect on global financial markets.

Beyond Greece, we are beginning to see signs that we have too many proverbial elephants also standing on the debt stool — Puerto Rico is on the edge of bankruptcy; China’s Shanghai composite is in firm bear territory, having dropped 23% from its highs, and the list goes on.

So what are some scenarios for the Greek situation that traders and investors should be prepared for? Let’s take a quick look but first, let’s check where we are at the moment.

Greece Is “All In” — What That Means

In one of my favorite pieces on the state of world affairs, Ben Hunt of the Salient Partners asset management firm wrote about the many different global situations (Russia vs. Ukraine, Greece vs. the Troika, etc.) as high stakes games of Chicken.

There are various ways to play Chicken — perhaps the most well-known example was depicted by James Dean’s character in the movie Rebel Without a Cause’s famous “cars racing to the edge of a cliff” scene. The essence of Chicken from a game theory perspective is that the worse possible outcome happens when both players refuse to yield.

As you can tell by the news coming out of Europe, we’re almost at that worse possible outcome. Of course one or other side could still “give in” and every inkling that that could happen pushes the market back up (as happened in Wednesday’s morning session).

So let’s look at the current state of affairs in the Greece vs. the Troika game. (The Troika is the European Union (EU) , the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).) With no agreement on how Greece can get additional assistance on servicing its debt or how it will reform its economy:

  Greece has missed its first major payment of $1.73 billion to the IMF
  The ECB has stopped providing emergency funding to Greek Banks leaving those banks with insufficient liquidity
  Capital controls were instituted and banks were closed.
  Prime Minister Tsipras called for a Greek popular vote (referendum) on the lenders’ proposal.
  Germany’s Prime Minister Merkel said there can be no further negotiations on the bailout package before the referendum vote; other European leaders have had a more moderated stance leaving the door open for negotiations.

Ben Hunt described Tsipras’ call for a voter referendum “the sort of self-binding, ‘rip your brakes and steering wheel out of the car’ strategy.” Such a move can be very effective in a game of Chicken because it shows what de Tocqueville called a condition of “semi-madness” that proves very politically effective in these games of Chicken.

So where do we go from here? Three scenarios:

  1. A negotiated settlement “on the courthouse step.” The parties make a backroom agreement and Tsipras calls off the referendum vote. This would be temporarily very bullish for equities, it could occur at any time this week, and is essentially another form of “kicking the can down the road.”
  2. The game of Chicken continues through a referendum vote and the Greek populace votes “Yes” to accept the lenders’ demands This too would be short-term bullish.
  3. The Greek citizens vote “No” on the referendum. Here, one of these sub-events happen:
    a. The Troika caves in and compromise further on conditions imposed on Greece. The effect would be temporary, initially negative for markets after the vote but would then turn positive after the Troika compromise.
    b. The Troika stands firm and we head toward ugly end game of Greece defaulting on debt and having to go back to the drachma to temporarily shore up the national banking system. This is the death spiral alternative and it’s akin to both cars driving off the cliff. Markets will react negatively to this scenario and it could get ugly for at least short while. In the intermediate term, other factors will become more important (especially in U.S. markets) as a new equilibrium takes over.

As traders and investors in this situation, we’re not so much managing risk (limiting downside of known possibilities) as we are dealing with uncertainty — not knowing the extent of the outcomes. Those uncertainties could lead to a string of days with wild swings to both sides -4%, +4%, -4%, +4% which would be similar to August of 2011 at the end of the market drop following the S&P downgrade of its U.S. credit rating.

The bottom line — caution in terms of position sizing and portfolio risk until some of the uncertainty is taken out of this situation.

Your views and comments are always welcome - please send them to drbarton “at” — I always enjoy hearing from you!

Great Trading, D. R.

About the Author: A passion for the systematic approach to the markets and lifelong love of teaching and learning have propelled D.R. Barton, Jr. to the top of the investment and trading arena. He is a regularly featured analyst on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. TV show (catch him most Thursdays between 12:30 and 12:45), on Bloomberg Radio Taking Stock and MarketWatch’s Money Life Show. He is also a frequent guest analyst on CNBC’s Closing Bell, WTOP News Radio in Washington, D.C., and has been a guest on China Central Television — America and Canada’s Business News Network. His articles have appeared on and Financial Advisor magazine. You may contact D.R. at "drbarton" at "".

Matrix Contest

MatrixEnter the Matrix Contest 
for a chance to win a free workshop!

We want to hear about the one most profound insight that you got from reading Van's new book, Trading Beyond the Matrix, and how it has impacted your life. If you would like to enter, send an email to [email protected].

If you haven't purchased Trading Beyond the Matrix yet, click here.

For more information about the contest, click here.

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July 01, 2015 #740


Our Mission


Our offices will be closed Friday July 3rd in observance of the Independence Day holiday.


Van's Top-Twelve Favorite Trading Books


Van's Favorite Non-Trading Books





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Trading Beyond the Matrix

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Long Term Systems

"I base my long-term, monthly rebalancing [core] strategies on research into relative strength and momentum as it relates to broad asset classes."-K Long








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