Meditation helps with the mental skills needed to operate trading systems.
#898 July 11, 2018
  • Feature: The Positive Effects of Meditation, by Dr. Ken Long
  • Workshops: 5 London Events, October
  • Tips: We Left The Tariff Penalty Box — Now What? by D. R. Barton, Jr.
  • FREE BOOK!: Trading Beyond the Matrix
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Multiple Discounts on The Forex Workshops This August In Cary, NC And October In London, England!
Forex Trading
5 Ways To Save On The Forex Trading System Workshop

1- $700 Early Enrollment Discount: This discount is in effect right now on both August (Cary, NC) and October (London, UK) workshops.

2- $500 Discount: Attend the Live Trading event alongside the three-day Forex workshop and take an additional $500 off the live trading sessions. (You pay $2,500 vs $3,000)

3- $600 Discount: Owners of the Forex Home Study qualify for an additional $600 discount off the three-day workshop.

4- Variety of Discounts: Attend another VTI workshop scheduled back to back with Forex and get additional combo discounts for attending more than one three-day workshop.

5- $200 Discount: Bring a friend who is not already a VTI client and you each get an additional $200 off.

If you have any questions about these discounts or any other questions, please email [email protected] or give us a call, 1+ 919-466-0043. We are always happy to speak with you to help make a decision about attending this or any other workshop.
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Feature Article

The Positive Effects of Meditation
by Dr. Ken Long
Ken's Photo
Meditation can have a powerful effect on the performance of your investment system, and your personal life. Even without a great deal of experience, the practice of meditation can have profound positive impacts in many dimensions of your life. Allow me to share some of my own insights with meditation and how it has helped me.

I am coming from a perspective of an informed layman, an active practitioner who has adapted and developed the practice of meditation for my own use, making no claims for expertise or assertions of efficacy for anyone else. If there's anything Van's teachings have helped me with, though, its a willingness to maintain an open mind, to sample and test the world around me, to shift paradigms to develop a better understanding of myself and the world, and to share things of value with others, which invariably enriches me through feedback. And so in that spirit of cooperation and sharing, here are some things I've learned along the way.

Although the word "meditation" often conjures up the image of an Asian mystical guru, in an exotic setting, with chanting and ritual, I will strip away the cultural contexts that enfold the practice and summarize the main points that I have found common in a variety of disciplines ranging from Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Transcendental Meditation and philosophy, and describe where I see its positive effects in my own life.

The practice of meditation affects me in a number of domains. It also has affected me at different levels, some of which occurred quickly and some which took more time to manifest.

(1) Self discipline and commitment: like any new behavior, whether it be an exercise regimen, a diet, a professional reading program, or a hobby, I found that in the beginning I had to make a conscious effort to conduct the practice. After I began to see positive results, I wanted to move this behavior from the realm of conscious intention to the realm of ingrained, unconscious habit or "unconscious competence." My technique was to schedule time daily linked in conjunction with other positive behaviors like exercise, and to keep track of my efforts in my logbook. After convincing my "status quo part" that this was a useful and valuable addition I found it easier and easier to maintain the behavior, and it became a habit. In practice, this means 20 minutes, a couple times a day that I dedicate (an important choice of words) to the maintenance of inner health, harmony and balance. Like any other positive behavior that becomes a habit, I found that the action of choosing to do this, and sticking to it daily, even when I am tired or not in the mood, reinforces and strengthens my self discipline and ability to commit to my values. I find the act of recording keeps me honest and accountable, even when it takes the form of checking a block on my monthly performance log. Since the meditation practice is a habit that concerns itself with mental activity and discipline, the reinforcement is even more compelling and dramatic. This self discipline and ability to commit to values has a positive carry over effect into the areas of my life in the same way that a regular exercise program has positive benefits in my life not directly related to working out: like stress management, inner harmony, attitude and general health.

(2) Focus and concentration: in the same way that exercise develops more capacity in the targeted muscle group, the practice of meditation, dealing with an inwardly focused mental effort, improves my ability to concentrate and focus on whatever the task at hand has my attention. The ability to focus and concentrate makes learning easier and more efficient, and improves my work and play skills. I have found that the occasional use of guided meditation tapes helps me keep the practice fresh and interesting and valuable.

(3) Development of greater insight: generally speaking, beginning meditation practices deal with learning how to "sit quietly and do nothing," to learn how to let go of the preoccupation of the constant inner noise associated with the loud stream of modern consciousness. You learn how to develop a place of inner quiet and contemplation that is aware of the ebb and flow of life around you without becoming caught up in the chase. This often takes the form of learning how to not fight the natural drifting of attention, the relapse into inner talk, and returning to the quiet place without judging yourself harshly for having drifted. You learn to acknowledge where you are and what you discovered yourself doing and then return to the state of quiet calm. Mantras, or the repetition of sounds, with either the inner or outer voice, which may or may not have additional meanings beyond the physical vibration, can help the beginner rapidly get into this state of quiet thought until it becomes second nature. It is definitely a learned and learnable skill. The next step in meditation then is to take advantage of this quiet, nonjudgmental reflective state to begin the examination of self and behavior, which leads to insight. The combination of attention to detail and the calm, nonjudgmental reflective state support the development of insight into one's self and behavior when combined with honesty and integrity. I like to envision this process as peeling back the layers of the onion as I take a behavior I want to explore and follow it back though the chain of causality and intended action to discover just what it is that generates my behaviors. I can then take a look at those triggers and the outcomes of my actions and determine if these are consistent with my stated values and decide where I want to go with my self work. In the same way that a microscope is a tool that enables a scientist to look deeply into domains inaccessible to the naked eye, I think of meditation as a tool that helps me reveal my deeper inner workings to myself. This practice then can lead to wisdom and purification, evidence of which I try to find in my life.

(4) The manifestation of loving kindness: while I value the inner work that meditation brings about, I discover that when I get up from the practice and go on to the next thing that I can bring those qualities of calmness, focus, reflection and insight, and the validation of my values into the rest of my life. I find my outward directed actions tend to be more in alignment with my inner stated goals; I am more consistent. I find myself looking for opportunities to add value in whatever it is I am doing. I am better able to deal with challenges that come from ego and possession and so forth. After all, at some point you have to get up out of the chair or off the floor or out of the lotus position (it hurts my ankles).

One of my favorite exercises in a class I taught was the short meditation exercise we did. Picture 40 people in a conference room, among strangers for the most part, having traveled thousands of miles, who had carved precious nonrefundable time out of their lives to learn specific behaviors, techniques attitudes and habits that will lead to financial success. They brought pens, pencils, and laptops. They had specific objectives in mind when they arrived. And they want to get down to it and learn! There they were, sitting quietly, doing nothing, and watching or listening, herding their thoughts in silence with eyes closed. You could almost hear the conventional inner voices shouting "Hey! I am paying good money to learn some things here that will add to my bottom line! Lets get on with it and do something!" And yet it is precisely the ability to sit quietly and do nothing, to relax and go within, to live the examined life when that's the right thing to do that can lead to breakthroughs and paradigm shifts that make the reality of success possible!

Another good side effect of the practice of meditation helps exercise precisely those mental skills that help me in developing, adapting and operating trading systems, namely: discipline, attention to detail, calm reflection, and insight.

I think this meditation stuff is important enough to teach my kids and I dedicate quality time to it. We have a blast learning and growing together as a family and as people. Anyway, that's how I see it from where I sit.

Ken Long
Attend Forex and Sideways back-to-back in August to
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Instructor Kim Andersson discusses some of the objectives of her upcoming workshop "Sideways Market Strategies" in the video below.
video - sideways

Trading Tip

We Left The Tariff Penalty Box — Now What?
by D. R. Barton, Jr.
D.R.'s Photo
At the end of June, I wrote about the tariff issues that were heating up. I said that the modest market drops and restrained moves in the VIX volatility index still pointed to more upside. And – after two weeks of sideways up-down-up-down bouncing — that’s exactly what we got. The sideways move resolved with a breakout to the upside. On this chart, we can see the breakout as well as lots of other useful information:
D.R. Chart 1
After two weeks of tariff "penalty box” action, the markets broke out for three days of upside push. Last night (Tuesday), however, tariff announcements rocked the markets again.

But how much did potential new tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods effect the markets?

Not much. A -0.7% drop on the S&P 500 at the low as of midday Wednesday.
So I’m compelled to repeat a recurring theme. In part, markets exist as a “discounting mechanism” — meaning that traders and investors consider the probabilities of future events and best reflect those future outcomes in the market price today.

If that is our active premise, then the markets don’t really think that the world is on the brink of an all-out trade war. In fact, the biggest drop the market could muster from the highest to lowest points of June — was just -4.1%.

And the markets today, including the VIX, had a very muted reaction which revealed that market participants continue to think there’s a low probability of an all-out trade war. It’s certainly not currently pricing in much fear.

And if you look at the chart above again — you can see that the next support zone (at the top of the previous sideways box) is still over a percent below the current price. In terms of daily ranges, that’s 1.5 below where we are now.

The Jobs Report

Tariffs aside for a moment, the market is still digesting a nearly perfect jobs report from last week. The employment report struck a great balance between a nicely growing economy and one that is growing so fast that the Fed would need to apply the brakes a bit. Three things of note showed up in this important report from Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  1. Job growth remained strong, with 213,000 jobs added vs. an expected 195,000.
  2. Importantly, that job growth was tempered by an actual increase in the unemployment rate from 3.8% last month to 4.0%. More people are looking for employment, a normal summertime occurrence.
  3. Most importantly, the wage growth at 2.7% was lower than the expected number of 2.8%.

This combination of more jobs added (a sign of a strong economy) and low wage growth (a sign that inflation is not yet heating up) puts us in a sweet spot were the Fed is not likely to tighten monetary policy any faster than it had planned. That’s a very market friendly outcome as we saw in the early price moves this morning.

So What?

So our posture is to keep a bullish short-term bias buying stocks as they reach pullback extremes.

In the meantime, there will continue to be tariff hiccups, especially when China responds to the U.S. president’s Tuesday night reveal. But until those moves challenge a few support levels below this, any drops will just be opportunities for new long swing trade entries.

Great trading and God bless you.
D. R.
Two Dates - Two Countries
Forex Workshops

August 11-13 in CARY, NC

October 20-22 in LONDON, ENGLAND


August 2018 - US
The Theory: All You Need to Know About Forex

Gabriel will spend most of the workshop teaching his trend-following systems. The first half day is spent to go over the specifics of trading the Forex market and cover such topics as:

  • Why trade Forex?
  • What are the advantages and drawbacks of trading Forex versus other instruments?
  • What are the main market characteristics, and who are the Forex market participants?
  • What methods work best in the Forex market?
  • All you need to know about Forex trading sessions and the currency pairs.
  • How are Forex chart characteristics different than stocks or futures?
  • What do you look for in a Forex broker? What do you avoid?
  • Why Forex may actually be the best market for new traders to learn trading.
  • What are the trading edges that work in Forex?
  • The Method

Gabriel will discuss a number of Forex trading ideas at his workshop and teach three specific trading systems. All three are trend-based; you can see the price action patterns in the price charts. His systems can be traded in various timeframes and can be traded across a wide range of currency pairs. Attendees of Gabriel’s workshops enjoy swing trading the systems using primarily 5-min ,15-min, 60-min and Daily candle charts. The trades usually tend to evolve over a timeframe of anywhere from several hours to a couple of days (or even weeks, in the case of strong trends).
No matter what time frame you trade or what method you use to measure them, Sideways markets happen between 59% and 65% of the time! And even though they appear a majority of the time, Sideways markets are rarely discussed, even in professional trading circles. Until now....

Kim is a 2015 Super Trader Graduate from VTI. Before she completed her studies with us, she had earned a Masters in Systems Engineering - which is no small feat! She has also served as an IT Security Consultant to the Pentagon, while also performing her duties with the Canadian Air Force.

She currently works as a Cyber Security Engineer at Lockheed Martin/Leidos and trades her systems part-time, finding a work/life balance that works for her and her family.

With over 1,850 trades completed, Kim has the solutions AND THE EXPERIENCE to lead you in a Sideways Market.

She has put in a tremendous amount of work and effort in to bringing this unique training out into the open. Originally designed with our Super Traders in mind, Kim and I decided to develop this material so that all traders or investors could come to the workshop and take home this critical information on this underappreciated market type.

This means that enrollment is limited as many seats will be filled with students from our elite Super Trader program.

If you think you are ready for a fast-paced, hands-on event hosted by an instructor, 100% dedicated to teaching you how to effectively trade Sideways markets, make plans to join us this August 17th-19th.
September 2018 - US
The How to Develop Winning Systems Workshop teaches you what you need to know to develop your own system. The material you will learn is not market or time-frame specific. So whether you trade stocks, futures, currencies, gold, etc., or whether you place 50 trades per day or 50 trades per year, you will learn all of the components that work in any system. With this knowledge you can both modify existing systems to fit you or the market type better, or master your own system development.

Two locations to choose from, Cary, NC in September and London, England in October!

The Peak Performance 202 Workshop is divided into three sections covering 4 days:
  • How you are programmed to follow the path that others want you to follow.
  • The various games that you play.
  • Personal reinvention.

Past participants say this was one of the most significant workshops they had ever attended. You will leave with a new sense of purpose and a new direction and a support team behind them.
October 2018 - US
November 2018 - US

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