Trader Self-Evaluation - Part One
What are Seven Key Areas that You Need to Work on to Become More Self-Aware?
By Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
In my work with traders and investors I believe the most significant work that anyone can
do to increase
market returns is self work. Really understanding yourself and how you think
can give you an edge that others in
the market don't have.
As part of my Super Trader Program, I give a long questionnaire to each trader to do an
of themselves. Some of the feedback that I get is that taking the test is like doing
a Ph.D. program! It's that involved.
I consider the ten questions that I give my Super Traders to be the essence of this self-evaluation
a minimum starting point for this type of work.
This week we'll start this process with just one of the points. My advice to my Super Traders
spend at least an hour on each question—a day is even better. These questions are meant
for you to really dig
deep and come up with responses from your core belief structure.
Question of the week: What are seven key psychological areas that you need to
work on or are
currently working on?
Don’t say “none” because that answer really suggests that you are totally unaware of what
going on with you.
We basically live in a society in which we are programmed to feel separate and alone from
else, programmed to follow the rules of the games that others invent for us to play.
The net result is most people
do the exact opposite of what is necessary for success. As you
become aware of this, you’ll also become aware
of all your patterns, beliefs, and emotions that
you need to work on or clear out to become more successful as a
Here are some examples that might fit some of you:
I really have a fear problem that enters into my trading. I want to make trades but I’m afraid
pull the trigger. And that fear seems to come up in other areas too; I guess I’m really afraid
I have some internal conflict when it comes to working on myself. On one hand I want to, but
other hand, I’d rather do other things. Working on myself feels like having a tooth pulled.
For some reason,
I just don’t want to do it.
I don’t have any discipline. Sometimes I just decide to trade. I make almost random trades or
recommendations that I’ve been given, but just certain select ones appeal to me. And the net
result is that
those trades never seem to work out. (Note: this is also an incomplete answer. What
is the selection process? What
happens to those trades? Do you cut losses and let profits run?
Are you compelled by some emotion to trade?)
My mother continually criticizes me. My mother gave me everything when I was growing up,
very grateful to her. But she’s always telling me what I do wrong. In fact, it upsets me to
be around her.
Yet at the same time, I feel that I must support her. I need to find out why her
criticism bothers me so much and
what I can do about it.
I really don’t like to be alone. When I do all of things that are important to trading success,
psychological work, I have to go inside and search and that really disturbs me. Also when I
try to meditate, things
come up that cause me to be afraid. (And, of course, if you had this
response, I’d want you to at least find
out what’s trying to come up that is causing this).
Those five statements are just examples of what might come up for you. But whatever you find…
thoroughly. What’s really going on? What are the emotions you don’t want to feel? What
are the hidden
beliefs? What is the internal conflict where part of you wants certain things and
another part wants something else?
Who are these parts and what are they trying to do for you?
(The concept of 'parts' is covered extensively in the
peak performance home study and 101 workshop).
About Van Tharp: World–renowned trading coach, author
and psychologist Dr. Van K Tharp,
is widely recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom
outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program - a highly regarded classic that is suitable
all levels of traders and investors.
For more information click here.