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Trading PsychologyDo You Move Toward Your Goals or Away From What You Don’t...

Do You Move Toward Your Goals or Away From What You Don’t Want? By, Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: Today we’d like to share one of Van’s articles from the archives.

One of the most critical exercises in my Peak Performance Home Study Course is the Value Elicitation Exercise found in the third volume. Tony Robbins used to have a very expensive workshop in Fiji on this process, but the complete instructions for doing it by yourself are in the Peak Performance Home Study Course. However, I’ve noticed that exercise is primarily for people who move toward their goals.

Once people who move toward their goals spend a few days doing the Value Elicitation Exercise, they will find that they have a complete picture of what’s important to them. However, people who move away from things might not be as satisfied with the results, because they may have negative values such as avoiding failure or rejection or abandonment.

How do you know which camp you fall into? I’ve prepared the following test to help you out.

Before reading any further, take the test (there are only four questions), and write down the answers that come to you first.


1. What are three things you look for when you buy a car?


i.        ____________________________________________________

ii.       ____________________________________________________

iii.      ____________________________________________________


2. Why do you want your three most important goals in life?


i.        ____________________________________________________

ii.       ____________________________________________________

iii.      ____________________________________________________


3. Are you more likely to move toward what you want or away from what you don’t want?




4. If you were to buy a dog, what three qualities would you look for?


i.        ____________________________________________________

ii.       ____________________________________________________

iii.      ____________________________________________________


To evaluate this test, notice whether your responses tended to be positive or negative. For positive values, put a plus sign in the space next to your answers. For negative values, put a minus sign in the space next you your answer. The illustrations below will help you decide whether your answer is positive or negative.

For example, for question 1:

  • “I wanted a car that wasn’t in the shop all the time like my last clunker.” This is a negative response. If your reason sounds like that, put a negative sign by it.
  • “I really liked the design of the car.” This is a positive response; put a positive sign by it.

For question 2:

  • “I want to be a successful trader so I don’t have a stupid boss breathing down my back.” This is a negative response because the motivation is to get away from your boss. Put a negative sign by any like this.
  • “I want the freedom to have my own hours, do what I want, and make unlimited income.” This is a move toward a goal, so put a plus sign by it.

For question 3:

If you answered “move toward,” put a plus sign by it. If you answered “move away from”, put a minus sign by it.

For question 4, notice whether you are looking for positive or negative qualities:

  • “I want a dog that doesn’t shed.” This is avoiding something, so put down a negative sign.
  • “I want a dog that’s really loyal and smart.” This is a positive quality, so put a plus sign by your answer.

Now add up your plus and minus signs. If you have six or more plus signs, then you tend to be a “move toward” person. If you have six or more minus signs, then you tend to be a “move away from” person. If you are a “move toward” person, then the value elicitation exercise in the course will have the most value for you. And I’m assuming that most traders are “move toward” people.

On the other hand, if you are a “move away from” person, then looking at what values you most want to avoid may have great benefits for you. If that’s you, then instead of listing all the positive things you want, list all the things you most want to avoid.

In addition, you may want to explore why you are a “move away from” person. Changing that could have a major effect on your success. But that’s the topic of another article.

The post Do You Move Toward Your Goals or Away From What You Don’t Want? By, Van K. Tharp, Ph.D. appeared first on Van Tharp Institute.


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