Broaden Your Mind, Not Your Butt: Trade on Your Feet

By July 5, 2016trading plan

“Writing and travel broaden your ass, if not your mind. I like to write standing up,” Ernest Hemingway said this when asked why he preferred to write standing up.

And, since we’re on the subject already, you might have been under the impression that the most important decisions in the world were usually made on the porcelain god, or on a velvet-upholstered chair in the smoky backroom of a gentleman’s club. Not so. Brilliant things have generally come about by people who were … standing.

Brilliance requires a certain amount of energy that’s generally not present when people are slouched in a chair and immobile. The brain starts to shut down as the body does- sitting body, sitting brain.

Trading is a ‘active-duty’ endeavor. You need to think fast and smart. You need to think on your feet metaphorically—and, even better, literally.

Download a cheat sheet of this post.


This guy probably isn’t coming up with any brilliant ideas:


 But, these people appear to be getting something done:


Or, if standing sounds too radical for you, how about a compromise:


Or, if standing isn’t radical enough for you, or if you don’t have enough time in your day to work and exercise, here’s yet another solution that will really get the blood flowing through your brain (though I do take issue with sweating in a suit):


Working while standing isn’t an automatic guarantee of success, of course. But, let’s take a brief journey through history:

Of the notables who preferred standing to sitting, all were massive successes (from da Vinci to the staff at Facebook) And, all attested to standing being a major factor in boosting creativity, motivation and productivity while also improving their health.

Historians love to point out that former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used a standing desk in his home office during World War ll and that Thomas Jefferson worked at an adjustable-height standing desk, among many others.  The list also includes, ostensibly, Hitler—who’s ultimate lack of success may not be the greatest selling point in a standing versus sitting discussion.

Today, not only are Facebook and Google getting their staff off their butts, but even the White House is said to be taking the standing-desk leap.  Perhaps this will lead to some better geopolitical decisions? We’ll see.

Trading requires your blood to be flowing, your heart pumping. You need to be very awake and very alert, and, if da Vinci was right—and so far the latest modern advances tell us he is—standing could give you the creative and motivational boost that you need to take your trading to the next level. You could reinforce body and mind by doing something as simple as trading in your chair for a standing desk.

Sitting: The New Smoking?

Let’s face it. We sit too much.  And, as our technology-driven present and future push us increasingly to the computer screen, we’ll be sitting a lot more. Worsening health conditions have pushed some to opine that sitting is the new smoking, which we gave up after the disastrous health effects became obvious.

Some recent studies indicate that those who sit for more than six hours of their leisure time each day have a 20 percent higher death rate than those who sit for three hours or less. Thus, these studies conclude that sitting can actually shorten your lifespan by several years.

They also showed that those who sat for 23 or more hours a week had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours per week or less.

Today, the average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting, each day, at his or her desk.

As for the specific health benefits of standing tables, the studies list quite a few:

  • Standing for an afternoon has been shown to burn 170 more calories than an equal amount of sitting. Over time, this difference can have a major effect on your weight.
  • In one small study, standing for 180 minutes, after lunch, reduced the blood sugar spike by 43 percent, when compared to sitting for the same amount of time.
  • And then, of course, there is the specter of death: The research suggests that reduced sitting time may lower the risk of checking out early.

But, even though it sounds pretty easy (what could be easier than just deciding to stand instead of sit?), there is one apparent caveat: Some scientists claim that, if not done correctly, a standing desk could do more harm than good.

Here’s why:

Standing too much can compress the spine and lead to lower back problems over time. It can also boost the risk of developing carotid artery issues, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and other cardiovascular problems.

Even though standing burns more calories than sitting, it also makes you tire more quickly.

Some scientists also claim that the brain performs certain tasks—such as those that require fine motor skills—better, when we’re sitting down. This latter caveat isn’t really reflective of trading, so we’ll save that for board meetings.

Listen, sitting versus standing is not an exact science and everyone’s different.

This is what StockstoTrade suggests—based on what a majority of experts will say, as well as our general fallback plan: common sense.

Let’s not get too radical—nothing in the extreme is generally beneficial. We recommend a good mix of standing and sitting, to give your body a break from immobility, a rest when it needs it and to give you that extra injection of creativity and fast-thinking.

We’d start off the morning standing up.  After all, you just got out of bed, so sitting down is going from immobile to immobile. Get the morning juices flowing on your feet, return your chair to its rightful importance in the afternoon and end the day on your feet once again.

If you don’t have a standing desk, you don’t need to commit by running out and buying one. It’s not a complicated idea. A regular table and a few books as props will do the trick, as will your kitchen bar.

Remember, trading is active and an active body means an active brain. If you start the standing experiment, track your progress by noting standing trades versus sitting trades.  Or compare your pre-standing-life trades to your sedentary ones and see if there’s any difference. And, be sure to share them with us!

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