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Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill for Traders and Investors


How to transform your trading results by transforming yourself

In the unique arena of professional trading coaches and consultants, Van K. Tharp is an internationally recognized expert at helping others become the best traders they can be. In Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill for Traders and Investors, Tharp leads readers to dramatically improve their trading results and financial life by looking within. He takes the reader by the hand through the steps of self-transformation, from incorporating "Tharp Think"--ideas drawn from his modeling work with great traders--making changes in yourself so that you can adopt the beliefs and attitudes necessary to win when you stop making mistakes and avoid methods that don't work. You'll change your level of consciousness so that you can avoiding trading out of fear and greed and move toward higher levels such as acceptance or joy.

  • A leading trader offers unique learning strategies for turning yourself into a great trader
  • Goes beyond trading systems to help readers develop more effective trading psychology
  • Trains the reader to overcome self-sabotage that obstructs trading success
  • Presented through real transformations made by other traders

Advocating an unconventional approach to evaluating trading systems and beliefs, trading expert Van K. Tharp has produced a powerful manual every trader can use to make the best trades and optimize their success.


Foreword (Doug Bentley)


Understanding Transformation (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Level I:  Transformation of the Trading Game

Level II: Understanding the Matrix and Reprogramming Yourself

Level III: Trading Beyond the Matrix

Your Personal Application of This Material

Section I: Transformation of the Trading Game:  Understanding the Basics (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Two Sets of Rules

Section I Contents

Chapter 1: I Just Made 130%--and That Was Just the Beginning (David Witkin)

Learning to Trade

“Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”

Tharp Think 101

Not All Lessons Are Equal

Finally, Some Winning Marbles

Chapter 2:  The Automation of Tharp Think (Laurens Bensdorp)

My Journey into Doing the Trading Myself

Training Someone Else

Why This is Possible


Chapter 3:  From Commercial Loan Officer to Financially Free Trader Investor (Rick Freeman)

My Initial Psychological Changes

What I’ve Learned about the Trading Game

Understanding the Trading Game

So How Do You Get a Positive Expectancy System?

Getting a System that Works

Trading Psychology

How My Life Has Changed

Chapter 4:  From Army Major to Systems Expert (Kenneth Long, Ph.D.)

What I Have Learned and How I Have Changed

The Power of Beliefs

Statistics-Based Trading

Trading Extremes

Reward-to-Risk Assessments


Position-Sizing™ Strategies and Bullets

SQN® Performance to Evaluate Systems, Targets and Markets

Market Classification Strategies


Improved Systematic Performance

Specific Systems for Specific Market Conditions

Detailed Documentation and Analysis of Trades

Evidence-Based Management

Reduced Stress


Long-Term System with Monthly Rebalancing

Weekly Swing Trade with Once-a-Week Portfolio Adjustments:

Pattern Swing Trade Using End of Day Data:

Live Trading Workshops Results

May 2011 (Bull Normal Conditions)

October 2011 (Bear Volatile Conditions):

March 26-30, 2012 (Bull Quiet Conditions):

September 24-28th  (Sideways to Bull Quiet Conditions)

Chapter 5: Using Tharp Think to Go From Full-Time Broker to Full-Time Trader (Martin Horsey)

My New Venture

Going to North Carolina

Restarting Trading

Where I Am Now

Chapter 6:  Adopting Tharp Think to Your Trading (Van K. Tharp, PhD.)

Area One: Thoroughly Understand the Principles of Successful Trading

Part 1:  Learning to Trade is Hard Work, But it Can Be Taught.

Part 2: Knowing Yourself

Part 3: Mistakes

Part 4: Objectives and Position Sizing Strategies

Part 5: Probability and Reward-to-Risk Assessment

Part 6: Systems and Market Type

Steps to Learning Tharp Think

Section II: Psychological Transformations to Help You Function at a Superior Level within the Matrix (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Chapter 7: Beliefs: The Basis for the Matrix (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Understanding the Impact of Beliefs Will Change Your Life

How I Create My Experience

You Are the Awareness of Thoughts that Flow Through You

Belief Hierarchy

Changing Your Beliefs

Everything Has the Meaning You Give It

Chapter 8: A Journey through the Stunning World of Feelings and Trapped Emotions (Anonymous)

The Turning Point

Self-Sabotage Models

Accepting My Feelings

Where I Am Now

Note from Editor: Feeling Release as a Metric for Awakening

Chapter 9: You Are a Crowd of Conflicting Parts Inside (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Exercise:  Have a Parts Party

Parts Negotiation Exercise

Interview with A CBOE Floor Trader

The Van Tharp Institute

Dealing with Conflicting Parts

What’s Changed Since Then

Where I am Now (Several Years Later)

Chapter 10: My Inner Guidance

A Personal Journey of Miracles (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

My Personal Journey

Conversations with God

Deeksha or the Oneness Blessing

My Relationship with Mitzi

My Current Inner Guidance

Revisiting the Transformed Engineering Professor

My Relationship with Durga Grows

Oneness with God

Bond with the Divine

The Nature of the Relationship is Critical

What Does this Mean for You and For Your Trading?

Some Recent Updates

Update 1:  Mother Meera’s Second Blessing.

Update 2:  I clear my fear-based spiritual beliefs.

Chapter 11: My Experiences Using Transformational Meditation™ (Peter Wechter)

“I” Have a Problem Using and Relating to the Word “God”

Five Transformations

Some More Little “i’s” That Didn’t Get the Message


Closing Reflections

Chapter 12: Creating Your Own World (Van K. Tharp, PhD.)

Nine Steps to Mastering Yourself

Step 1: Learn that You Are a Crowd Inside.

Step 2: Get 25-30 Identity-Level Beliefs from Each Part.

Step 3: Do a Belief Examination Paradigm on Each of Your Beliefs.

Step 3a: Keep your useful beliefs.  Once you complete your list, ask yourself, “Is the belief useful?”  You’ll find that many of them are not.  It’s when you start to replace non-useful beliefs with useful ones that you really begin to see change in your life

Step 3b: Replace your uncharged non-useful beliefs.  You’ll find that non-useful beliefs without charge on them are easy to replace once you recognize their lack of utility.  For example, “Not acting until you are sure” might be replaced with “Act when the reward-to-risk ratio is heavily in your favor.”  It’s easily done, unless the first belief has a lot of fear associated with it

Step 3c: Find the charge on the remaining beliefs.  You’ll probably find that at least half of your non-useful beliefs have a powerful emotion attached to them.  When that’s the case, list it and the associated emotion and move on.  You’ll be releasing the charge in step 5

Step 4: Learn About Projection and Your Shadow Self.

Step 5: Work on the Charge through Feeling Release Exercises.

Step 6: Do a Life Review and List the Beliefs that Come Up.

Step 7: Make a List of Your Problems and Find the Root Cause (Beliefs and Feelings).

Step 8: Get in Touch with Your Internal Guidance.

Step 9: Work to Eliminate Parts, or to at Least Get Them to Work Together with You.


Section III: Moving Beyond the Matrix by Transforming Your Level of Consciousness (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Our Most Powerful Tool

Super Trader Journeys Through Transformation

Chapter 13: How I Turbocharged My  Transformational Journey (Kim Andersson)

Discovering the Linchpin

Transformations Turbocharged!

Transformational Pillar #1: Getting Rid of Fear

Transformational Pillar #2: Tapping into a Higher Power

Transformational Pillar #3: My Purpose in Life

Transformational Pillar #4: Finally Getting Rid of my Need for Control

Taming my Unconscious Fear of Becoming a Millionaire

A Snapshot of Before and After

The Turbo-charged Transformational Model


Chapter 14: From Engineer to Spiritual Warrior

A Trading Journey (Anonymous)

Timeline 1: Downhill Accelerating

Timeline 2: Crawling out of the Pit

A Message from Somewhere

Finding Out that I Would Be a Professional Investor as Soon as I Retire

Do I Have a Real Problem, or Do I Just See Monsters in the Closet?

Meeting Super Trader Program Students: I’ll Have What They’re Having

Transformation 1: Dropping the Pain of Past Projections

Original Situation

Actions to Achieve Transformation

Transformed State

Interlude: There’s Money for Everyone

Transformation 2: Firsthand Experience of a Benign Universe

Original Situation

Actions to Achieve Transformation

Transformed State

Transformation 3: Realizing My Purpose

Original Situation

Actions to Achieve Transformation

Transformed State

Transformation 4: Finding a Vehicle that Suits Me

Original Situation

Actions to Achieve Transformation

Transformed State

Transformation 5: Become an Active Manager of Emotional States

Original Situation

Actions to Achieve Transformation

Transformed State

Bottom Line: Net Winner in Life


Chapter 15: A Professional Trader’s Journey Beyond the Matrix (Curtis Wee)

My Early Trading Experiences

Stumbling on the Van Tharp Institute

Key Lesson 1: Personal Responsibility

Key Lesson 2: Thoughts, Emotions and Actions (TEA)

Key Lesson 3: My Thoughts are Not Mine

Key Lesson 4: Inner Guidance

Key Lesson 5: The World is Perfect

Lesson 6: Knowing My Purpose

Key Lesson 7: Re-inventing Myself

So Where am I Now?

Chapter 16: My Journey to Trading in the Now (Thahn Nguyen)

My Transformation Journey

Area 1: My Anxiety or Worry

Area 2: My Impatience

Area 3: My Fear of Failure or Being Wrong

Area 4: Being Overwhelmed

Area 5: Tendency to Believe that I’m Always Right

Area 6: Trading With No Plan or System

How It Happened

Where Am I Now?

Editor’s note:

Chapter 17: Thoughts on Raising Your Level of Consciousness (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Some Exercises for Trading in the Now

Trading in the Now

Level IV Transformation

Questions on Raising Your Level of Consciousness

Chapter 18: Continuing the Journey (Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.)

Area Three: Develop a Personal Business Handbook for Trading/Investing

Area Four:  Assessing Your Preparation for Trading

Area Five: Understand Your Trading Mistakes

Appendix I: Recommended Readings

Appendix II: Key Words Defined

Appendix III: Reference Notes

About the Author

A Personal Invitation from Dr. Van K. Tharp