During the American Revolution, a crucial battle took place at Bunker Hill, forever to be known as The Battle of Bunker Hill.
The Americans were low on ammunition with the enemy fast approaching.
Colonel William Prescott ordered the men to reserve fire and aim low because powder was scarce.
Israel Putnam then issued the legendary quote, “Don’t one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”
I think about the quote all the time when it comes to executing trades.
- You try …
- Your buying power is your ammunition.
- Your ammunition is limited so when you use it, you want to have the best chance at being right.
If you take a shot in the dark, then your chances of success are limited; but if you take a direct shot, well now you are playing to win.
Take the current market. When we were at 16,000 on the Dow, it looked like we would free-fall but instead, the Dow rallied all the way back up to 18,000.
Near 18,000, it looks like we have clear sailing to our all time highs. The key question is, will that happen or do we fall back down? Many will gamble. Bulls will buy with the assumption we are heading higher. Bears will make the assumption this is a top and short the market.
Me? I’m with Prescott and Putnam.
I don’t want to execute until I see a clear direction.
So if we get above 18,000, I might miss out on small gains, but now I will be trading with clear momentum.
If we start to fall back down off of 18,000, I might miss some of the early profits, but I will be able to take advantage of the bigger move to come.
Either way, I am going to be taking clear shots which will give me the best opportunity to succeed.
That’s why when people ask me where the market is headed I always give them the same answer …
Instead, it’s better to react quickly to what’s happening.
Take a look at AAPL.
When it started to fall from 130, you could have bought at 120 because it was an “opportunity”; but could you have stomached that drop below 100?
Why not stand on the sidelines and when it settles back above 100, that’s when you grab it.
You will have more upside…without having to suffer through the uncertain fall.
In the greatest trading book ever written, Jesse Livermore only has enough funds left for one trade and he has to be right.
Whatever he does, he says, “it has to be the ideal set up.” He waits and waits until one of the top railroad stocks crosses a key level.
Once it’s through (not before), he enters and receives instant gratification.
He was down to his very last trade; he had to be right… so he refused to compromise. Livermore didn’t anticipate anything, he waited for confirmation and then he traded.
That “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes” approach to trading will not just keep you in the game for a long time to come – it will help you make tremendous progress.
Let’s do this!
All The Best,
P.S. There are just 67 copies left in stock of the Greatest Trading Book Ever Written, secure yours here.
Adam Mesh is CEO and Founder of The Adam Mesh Trading Group. For the past 18 years he has coached thousands of students to all levels of success in trading. He is also creator of the revolutionary Full Contact Trading System