“Buy low and sell high.” There’s likely no sounder economic advice. It especially rings true in the cattle business with its cyclical nature. We’ve all seen the wisdom of that advice played out time and time again.
When everyone is heading for the exits, it’s often the time to jump in with both feet. Still, as simple as that advice is, it’s often difficult to implement.
The axiom named in honor of the particle physicist Werner Heisenberg is called the Heisenberg Unpleasantness Principle. It states: “Observing a market pattern makes it stop.” Profits lead to losses and losses lead to profits. Grizzled veterans have the perspective to understand that when things look tough, they’re usually poised to get better; and when they look great, they’re likely due for a correction.
Free-market dynamism always leads to improved conditions if allowed to run its course. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t re-evaluate when conditions are tough.
Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. But, keep in mind that what separates those who succeed in agriculture and those who don’t often boils down to who kept swinging even when they were down in the count. Usually they don’t embrace radically different business models, instead focusing on that which they do best.
It’s amazing how many times luck is credited for success when it was really persistence that created the luck.