My Journey with Van Tharp & the Van Tharp Institute

By Gabriel Grammatidis

March 4, 2022

During the 15+ years that I have known Van personally, a lot of things have changed in my life. As you likely know, the Van Tharp Institute stands for “personal transformation while using trading as a metaphor.” Over those years, I can say that I have transformed as a person on many different levels – psychologically, spirtiually, as a trader, a teacher and as a coach. Mission completed!

How I Met Van

During the early 2000’s, I was working for Corporate America at one of the world’s biggest asset management firms of which PIMCO (Pacific Investment Management Company) is a part. Working very long hours, I was climbing up in my corporate career, frightened to not make the next step higher and stretching my energy levels well beyond what was healthy. Completely exhausted, I could feel that I was just not happy despite a growing career and making lots of money. Clearly, I had to change something. Looking back, the time was ripe to meet Van!

We first met in London in 2007 during a VTI Workshop that Van taught. Health-wise he was not doing well—breathing heavily. I even feared he might collapse on the stage (things turned around and he recovered and lived many more healthy years). It was here that I heard about the Super Trader Program. I was intrigued to join before it was too late. With that motivation, I graduated in 2010, within two years, by developing the systems I teach today in my workshops. The Super Trader Program was the ideal springboard to prepare for getting free of my golden hand-cuffs, leaving the cozyness of the corporate world.

In 2008 Van was teaching in Germany and we met again spending a couple of days together. I showed him around the nice places of Munich (the place I lived in) including visiting the famous beergarden in the English Garden to have a big glass of German beer.

Van’s Impact on My Life

During those years back, I was very competitive at work—playing the rat race, striving for results in a desperate way to seek approval and justify my worth. In hindsight, that was not a very clever strategy (and for trading, it is a recipe for disaster). So during one of those days, I found myself sitting with Van on the sofa of my cozy apartment talking about trading and things “clicked”.
I had to change if I wanted to reap my full potential.

During the Super Trader Program, I started my journey of “feeling the feeling and letting the charge go”. Working on limiting beliefs, especially the emotionally charged beliefs, had a very gratifying effect when a charge went off. There is a certain surge of energy that can be experienced each time a layer is taken off. Suddenly, there was a feeling of lightness as if a heavy weight was lifted.

It is interesting how Van introduced me to the Oneness University in 2008 around the same time. It was actually the same week when a German friend introduced me into Oneness, too. So, I dove into it for spiritual development which led to several longer stays at the Oneness University in India – the last inspiring one was together with Van and his wife Kala.

All in all, working closely with Van over all those years, my thinking has completely changed and a huge amount of limiting beliefs got released. It is interesting that, when going over again my earlier list of beliefs, things have changed in fundamental ways so that it is difficult to get back into that seat putting on the heavy shoes again.

Becoming an Instructor at The Van Tharp Institute

After having graduated from the Super Trader Program in 2010, Van asked me if I wanted to teach a workshop based on my well-developed systems. I enjoyed teaching and experiencing people grow and had been more than happy to do so since that day. Over the years teaching, I developed as a coach and understood that the Trading System is just the start – the necessary requirement.

What becomes crucial then is to develop as a trader so to be able to flawlessy execute the Systems with a good mental state of being Cool, Calm & Confidence. Developing traders into consistent traders within less than a year became then my passion and personal mission.

Trader development always goes hand-in-had with personal development showing me the impact my work can have on so many lives & families for the better.


After Van’s passing on February 4th 2022, I honor him and his contributions by persevering and continuing to transform myself and others to carry on his legacy. I miss him a lot and am grateful to have met him.

His last inspiring words to me just a couple of days before he passed away:
“I have no fears at all of transitioning, and ‘the what is’ is perfect!” 


PS: The work continues! Hommage to Van…

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