In 1987 Hank Pruden decided to take a break from teaching the Technical Analysis Courses at Golden Gate University. He offered me the job of teaching these courses during his absence. I was honored by his invitation and accepted. His sabbatical went on for three years and I believe it was a very creative period for Hank. In 1988, we became aware of a new mental technology called Neuro Linguistic Programming. The epicenter of this new thought work was Marin County which is very close to GGU. Hank and I discussed NLP over lunch and concluded that it could have profound benefits for traders as a mental edge. We decided to form a study group of professional traders, to meet twice a month in Marin County, to study and learn the techniques of NLP to be applied to trading skills. The reason we met in Marin County was to hire NLP Practitioners to work with us and install these methods. Over the ten-year life span of the group we worked with three NLP experts (and numerous trading coaches). The group was called the Zim’s Group because we met at a restaurant of the same name. Zim's provided a private dining room in the back where we could do our work (the hamburgers were great too).
A legendary collection of traders flowed through the Zim’s Group over that ten-year span. A number of them have become life-long friends and collaborators. Much good work came from those efforts. One moment in particular stands out. One day right after we ordered lunch, Hank passed out handouts (as he often does). He then presented something very new and different, ‘The Seven Tasks of Trading’. What made this presentation so unique was the nature of the tasks. Each task was familiar to any seasoned trader. Creating a Low Risk idea. Stalking the Trade. Making the Trade. Taking Profits. You get the idea. What made this special was the NLP orientation. Yes, these were essential trading tasks, but they were also emotional states. What is the proper mental and emotional state for each of these essential trading events? Each task requires a different and unique emotional state. If the trader can understand, practice, rehearse and then execute the proper mental state for the task at hand will this improve decision making and accelerate trading mastery? Do accomplished and successful traders automatically and (possibly) unconsciously already perform this mental state mastery in the daily course of their trading process?
Hank had elegantly combined essential tasks of trading with the new mental technologies of NLP. For me this was a special Ah-Ha moment. Hank raised the bar by collaborating with Van Tharp. Together they made it ‘The Ten Tasks of Top Trading’ by adding other important steps. They co-authored an article for the MTA Journal making this special work available to all of us.
Hank went on to write his essential book “The Three Skills of Top Trading” where he expands on these important mental skills. The article is reprinted in his book. I suggest you read this classic work today and here is a link to the original MTA Journal article (click here for a link and go to page 25).
When Hank returned from sabbatical we began discussing the idea of a Wyckoff Method Course and agreed to team teach it. But Hank, being the consummate educator, had a special new teaching technology to really cement the Wyckoff Method to proper mental state management. He called this the ‘Action Sequence’ process. It was brilliant and really fun to teach. Students were thrown into the stresses of making consequential market decisions (simulated). It really accelerated the learning process. To this day, the ‘Action Sequence’ method is still in use. Read more about it in Hank’s book.
Congratulation to Dr. Hank Pruden for receiving the MTA’s prestigious ‘Annual Award’ at this years MTA Annual Symposium. From the MTA’s Symposium materials:
"The MTA honors and thanks Dr. Henry O. “Hank” Pruden for his numerous contributions to technical analysis education, including especially establishing the first graduate level Certificate of Technical Market Analysis at Golden Gate University, where he has taught, mentored and inspired thousands of students and professional technicians throughout his 40-year career."
All the Best,