Get Your Peak Trading Performance This May!
#887 April 25, 2018
  • Feature: Some Major Trading Psychology Patterns, by RJ Hixson
  • Workshops: Van's Cornerstone, Peak Performance 101, May, July and October
  • Tips: 2018 Has Been a Roller Coaster: Comparing Asset Classes, by D. R. Barton, Jr.
  • FREE BOOK!: Trading Beyond the Matrix
Develop Beliefs and Habits To Be A
Peak Performing Trader
Peak 101
Simplify Your Trading Processes

Van Tharp’s signature three-day workshop, Peak Performance 101 is built around helping you identify winning trading beliefs and behaviors based on the model of successful trading that Dr. Tharp has developed from his 30 years of researching the top traders in the world. You’ll also learn how to incorporate these useful beliefs and behaviors into your trading back home.

Van Tharp’s work boils down to helping you understand how you can develop beliefs and habits to be a peak performing trader. In addition to your beliefs, mental states such as abundance and peace produce better trading results compared to fear or greed. You can eliminate trading mistakes and follow your rules for trading regardless of how you feel in the moment or whatever is making headlines. Successful trading is not about being right. It’s about cutting losses and letting profits run.

At the most basic level, people must trade by processing information. And most people are inefficient information processors to start with and have a lot of biases which influence trading decisions. Dr. Van Tharp documented as many as 25 common biases. However, most of them can be understood by realizing that trading and investing are very simple processes which human beings try to make much more complex.

To learn more about this this workshop, scroll down to our workshop's section.

Feature Article

Some Major Trading Psychology Patterns
by RJ Hixson
RJ's photo
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of previewing Gabriel’s new Futures workshop as a student. On one level, it was great to see how Gabriel has evolved as a trader and as an instructor. On another level, it was stimulating to listen to a trader that understands himself well and has a strong ability to communicate the beliefs and strategies that help his trading systems work quite well.

For almost a decade now I’ve been co-teaching workshops alongside Van. I’ve witnessed many traders who came into a workshop with a belief or strategy that had been holding them back. Most of the time, they had little if any awareness of it until a workshop exercise caused an eye-opening revelation or paradigm shift. Then they were able to leave the workshop with a new understanding about themselves. Those transformations are fulfilling and inspiring — to the other participants in the workshops as well as the instructors. Those transformations are also why we hear that Van’s material not only enhances trading but also improves life in general.

Watching Gabriel teach reminded me of the value of live workshops. There’s a level of focus that comes from the investment in time, money, and effort to get to a classroom and learn something. We produce online learning courses and I regularly use online courses from many providers. Those are incredibly useful from a convenience perspective and often, they enable learning that just won’t happen otherwise. From a practicality perspective, many people are unable to “go away” to a course due to either limitations around travel, budget, or time — so an online course makes sense.

In some cases, however, what you can learn in person with a group and an excellent instructor just can’t be reproduced through an online course or through a workbook. We don’t release any of our psychological workshops as elearning courses because you simply can’t learn some of the material on your own. The Peak Performance Home Study Course (specifically designed for home study) has a number of exercises where you consider introspective questions, go inside, and record your answers. In that regard, it works very well for the subjects it covers. The Peak Performance101 live workshop offers a totally different environment to delve into some related concepts. Participants work with partners or in small groups to learn or “do” a particular technique. The experience of watching someone do something, doing it yourself, helping others do the same thing, and then reflecting on what happened is all crucial to the learning. The “hands on” work with other people in the room and the personal observations/reflections create a strong experiential learning environment where you learn vividly through the impactful experiences. Typically, participants learn about a concept, watch Van lead a demonstration of a particular technique, and then work in small groups to fully “experience” the exercise. This allows for feeling, reflection, and reaction that can only take place with live interaction.

With that being said, I’d like to illustrate some examples of useful questions you might ask yourself even if you have no intentions to ever attend a Peak 101 workshop. Many people are unable to attend a live workshop and part of this newsletter’s purpose is to act as an inbox mentor for our readers.

I’ll describe some of the specific experiential exercises from Van’s foundation course “Peak 101”. As you read, you can compare your beliefs with ones Van teaches and you can ask yourself some questions relating to your life and trading. No, it’s not the same as being here in a live workshop but it’s useful material in a newsletter that you can use to work on yourself.

Mental State Control

Have you ever traded when you were angry? When you were scared? When you were bored? If you haven’t done any of those, you haven’t traded very much yet. Trading from a mental state of anger, fear, or boredom — or other non-useful emotional states, happens for less experienced traders and these conditions invite mistakes — conditions where you don’t follow your rules. More often than not, you lose money when you don’t follow your rules. So what do you do? You change your mental state. But how do you do that?

One way to change your mental state would be to finish trading for the day and come back tomorrow morning. While probably pretty effective, that may not be very useful. As a trader, you want methods with effectiveness — and speed. Of the almost two dozen ways we teach to manage your mental state, one surprisingly simple technique is to pay attention to your breath. It can be as effortless as closing your eyes and consciously breathing in slowly and breathing out slowly for a minute or two. Notice what you are feeling right now, close your eyes and pay attention to breathing slowly, and check how you are feeling after a minute or two. What tends to surprise workshop participants is just how simple and easy mental state management can become once you are familiar with a few good techniques.

Useful Belief — When I am aware of a mental state that is not useful for a task, I can change it.

Question — If you notice yourself in a mental state unconducive to trading well, what could you do to change your mental state? Make a few notes and keep that handy for quick reference by your trading screens for the next time it happens.

Dominant or Overwhelming Feelings
Do you know anyone with a feeling or emotion that seems to rule their life? Do you have such a feeling or emotion? Trying to trade effectively with this can be challenging if not outright self-sabotage. If it’s not you, consider someone who is continually anxious, angry, fearful, or sad and imagine how that emotion could cloud their ability to perceive price action, make good decisions (like entries & exits), and react well to adversity in the markets. Rather than trading with clarity, decisiveness, and focus, they would experience any number of other emotions through the process of trading.

In Peak 101, Van details the evolution of feeling release techniques he has learned about, used, and discarded over the last twenty-five years. The method he teaches now is quite effective and fast. I have seen participants release feelings in a matter of minutes that have been just an irritant or which have been a dominating life factor for many years. This process is always inspiring and uplifting

Useful Belief — Even if an emotion seems to dominate my life, there are ways to release it.

Questions — Do you notice if you have a dominating feeling in your life? If so, what is it and what effects does it have? What useful information might there be in that emotion? Could you acknowledge and even welcome the emotion — if not for a long period, just for a short period?

Internal Conflicts

Have you ever thought or said something to the effect, “On one hand, I . . . while on the other hand, I . . .? Has that kind of thinking ever affected your trading? If so (and it’s likely so), you have an experience of some internal conflict — which is entirely human. Different parts of you want different things and when two parts see something differently — as they often do — you wind up in conflict. Most typically, your logical mind or “captain” takes control and makes a decision to resolve the situation. If over time, however, one of the parts is consistently denied expression or is minimized, that part will act through your subconscious to gain expression. That shows up when you do something you don’t understand and causes you to ask “Now why did I do that?” There are different ways to handle these situations but Van has found the most effective and helpful way is to negotiate with the parts. After people learn about some of their parts and the resolution process, many are very surprised how easily they can find a solution they had not considered which can satisfy the parts and allow them to go forward — without conflict in that area again.

Useful Belief — Internal conflicts are resolvable – even if they have existed for a long time.

Questions — Where do you experience internal conflict? What competing motivations or intentions do you experience with these conflicts? If you were to get creative, what could you do that would address the differing motivations and still solve the conflict.


Working at the Van Tharp Institute and seeing the personal transformations that traders make at our live workshops never ceases to amaze me. I graduated from Van’s Super Trader Program and had these experiences myself so working with others on their transformations allows me to share my learnings. I also get to watch colleagues like Gabriel who have applied Tharp Think in their trading pass on many valuable lessons through their own teaching.

I just wanted to share a few perspectives of someone who teaches in this interactive environment and to express my gratitude to the people who have come here for a workshop. You not only receive lifelong, positive, impacts on your life but you also contribute to your fellow students and your teachers.

Don’t worry if you cannot come join us live for workshop. You can still work to understand some of these concepts and improve your awareness of your internal thoughts and feelings that are impacting your trading results. These are solvable issues and awareness is the first step.

I wish you much success.
Watch This Video To Learn Why Peak 101 Is
Such A Crucial Step In Your Trading Journey
Peak 101 NEW Video

Trading Tip

2018 Has Been a Roller Coaster:
Comparing Asset Classes
by D. R. Barton, Jr.
D.R. Barton
Much of my trading and analysis are based on short to intermediate timeframes. Stepping back and taking a slightly longer-term view is a useful habit for me and we’ll do that today with some charts, the help of a pretty cool heat map, and not so many words …

First, about that market roller coaster. After the volatile market drop of early February, day-to-day volatility remains while the S&P continues to form a range compression triangle:
DR Chart 1
The bottom dotted line of this range compression is essentially the 200-day simple moving average. So many people watch this level that if we were to see a multi-day break below it, that should lead to much more downside. A breakout to the upside of the triangle should lead to test of the early March highs.

The Bigger Picture by Asset Class

I always come back to this cool heat map that the Visual Capitalist puts out often. Year to date, the far right column shows how strong commodities have been:
DR Chart 2
Of specific note here is that after a horrible cycle for commodities from 2011 – 2015, the asset class enjoyed three up years (including 2018 YTD numbers). Those two major moves largely have the plunge and recovery of oil prices to thank as causal movers. Interestingly though, large firms like Goldman Sachs have been touting commodities as a place to be right now.

In January, I spoke with Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors at a conference where we both made presentations. He too, is bullish on commodities and shared this chart with the folks at Visual Capitalist:
DR Chart 3
The chart shows commodities still near their lowest point for the last 20 years in relation to equities. Commodities cycles can take a while to develop and they are already up strongly this year, however, I’m not making a plea to jump in right away. Investors should keep an eye open to having some exposure to an asset class that is likely to outperform over the next few years if a new upside super cycle resumes.

I always love to here thoughts and comments — and especially you additional insights(!) - please send them to drbarton “at”

Great trading and God bless you,
D.R. Barton, Jr.

Workshop Schedule

May 2018 - US
3 Opportunities in 2018 to transform
your trading and your life

MAY 18-20, CARY, NC
JULY 13-15, CARY, NC
Workshop Objectives

Students will learn and begin to understand each of these objectives after attending Peak Performance 101:

  • How great traders approach their craft and learn a daily procedure that resembles what they do.

  • How you create your own experience in the market and how you are responsible for the results that you get.

  • Become more aware of some of your own psychological issues that affect your performance as a trader/investor.

  • Learn about expectancy, position sizing strategies and the power of big R-multiples through a simulation game. This game is also designed to help you observe your emotions in a setting in which only a small amount is at stake compared with what you will face in the market.

  • Learn some of the variables that affect your emotions and how you can gain control over them.

  • Learn to overcome self-sabotage through exercises done in the class.

  • Students will get guidance on how to develop an ongoing program to work on themselves using the Super Trader Program as a model.

  • Students will leave with a plan to make the maximum use of the workshop.

  • Participants in this course will get to meet and network with some really great people who a lot in common with each other.

June 2018 - US
Options is now open to the public for registraton!
Reserve your seat now!
July 2018 - US
August 2018 - US
September 2018 - US
October 2018 - US
November 2018 - US

Free Book

FREE Book!
We pay for the book, you just pay for shipping.
When you add the free book to an item already being shipped there is generally no extra shipping charge (of course, depending on your location).

Read Van’s Latest Book —
The Red Pill for Traders and Investors

Eleven traders tell their stories about transforming
their trading results and lives, in this 400 plus page book.

Below is a brief video on how powerful this book is to traders.

Cary, NC Workshop Information
For a list of nearby hotels for our Cary, North Carolina locations, click here.

Book your flight arriving to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

When traveling to a three-day course, it's best to arrive the evening before.
To help determine your arrival and departure times, see:

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This is a supplement to our subscription based newsletter, Tharp's Thoughts.

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