Designing The Perfect Trading Setup

Designing The Perfect Trading Setup
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It’s impossible to narrow trading success down to a single factor. Rather, it’s a combination of multiple factors that must come together at the right time and in the correct proportions. And whether you’re experienced or green, having a perfectly optimized trading setup is key.

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Focus, Mindset, and Success

If you spend any time studying other traders, you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that there’s a distinct difference between successful traders and the unsuccessful ones. Sometimes this has to do with personality traits and an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, but it typically has a whole lot more to do with focus, mindset, and emotions.

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“Our emotional strengths and peak mindset are shaped by how and what we think,” explains a leading trading group. “If we generate bad thoughts, they will affect the overall thinking process – but if we input positive thoughts, the output will also be good.”

The interesting thing about this concept is that positive thoughts are directly tied to the physical environment around you. If you’re in a boring, uncreative space that’s cold and sterile, your emotions will follow suit. If, on the other hand, you put yourself in environments that are perfectly tailored to your needs and preferences, positive thoughts will follow. And in a perfect world, these positive thoughts lead to success (which further shapes your mindset and creates a cycle of sustained success).

4 Tips for a Perfect Trading Setup

There’s more to your trading setup than having some flashy gadgets and devices carefully situated on a desk. If you want the perfect trading setup, you must think about the following:

  1. Figure Out the Optimal Number of Screens

The first thing everyone wants to talk about is screens - the number, type, and placement. And while this isn’t as important as some make it out to be, you do need to give it some careful thought and attention.

Most traders recommend somewhere between three and nine screens, which is a wide range, but don’t get so caught up in quantity that you forget about quality. Even more important than the number of screens you have is the display of the monitors. Investing in a high-end video card with high resolution will allow you to do more with less space.

  1. Think About Lighting

When it comes to being focused, your immediate environment plays a role in your mindset. And while there are dozens of individual factors in play, few are more influential than lighting.

You never want to sit in a dark room with bright computer screens for an extended period of time. The stark difference can have a negative impact on your eyesight and cause vision problems, headaches, and a host of other problems. Having said that, you don’t want too much light or glare coming in from outside. The optimal solution - at least for trading setups with exterior windows - is to install shades that can be manipulated throughout the day.

  1. Be Cognizant of Ergonomics

You probably spend somewhere between eight and ten hours per day in your trading room. That’s a long time to sit in one area. So make sure you get the ergonomics of your trading setup right.

A comfortable chair with adequate support for your neck and spine is important - as is the right height for monitors and the correct placement of your keyboard and mouse.

  1. Aim for Privacy

Most traders have a home office setup. While some people can function well working from home, others - particularly those that live with a significant other and/or children - have a difficult time finding the right work-life balance. Make sure you establish some privacy in your trading setup, lest you limit your productivity and results.

Adding it All Up

Most traders think their trading setup only matters in terms of making sure they have all of the necessary devices and technologies to execute trades. But what these individuals fail to consider is the connection between mindset and results.

Your trading setup plays a catalytic role in your thinking - both subconsciously and consciously. By giving it strategic thought, you can increase your chances of being successful over the short-term and long-run.

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Ankur Shah is the founder of the Value Investing India Report, a leading independent, value oriented journal of the Indian financial markets. Ankur has more than eight years of equity research experience covering emerging markets, with a focus on India and South East Asia. He has worked as both a buy-side investment analyst for a global long/short equity hedge fund and a sell-side analyst for an emerging markets investment bank. Ankur is a graduate of Harvard Business School. You can learn more about his latest views on global markets at the Value Investing India Report. -- He can be emailed at
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