We (human beings, that is) are strongly motivated by FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. Any decision we make before we are forced into deciding means foregoing additional opportunities, and that doesn’t feel good in the moment (it doesn’t matter that we are also foregoing additional risk – we put less emotional weight on that). What we tend to forget is that time is always leading us toward deadlines and the abandonment of choice.

Harvest is an externally imposed deadline. So are bank notes, payroll, grain quality, storage space, transportation/logistics, futures contract expiration, option expiration, and countless other things.

Every deadline represents the end of decision-making on some level.

  • Cash flow needs are the end of selling decisions for some quantity of bushels
  • The end of storage space is the end of selling decisions for some quantity of bushels
  • Roll day is the end of spreading decisions
  • Option expiration is the end of decisions about capitalizing on a market change

And so on.

Flexibility in making (and adjusting) decisions, range of possible decisions, and control of decisions is high when a deadline is far way and decreases steadily as the deadline approaches.

Failing to decide before the deadline means that the deadline is in control of the outcome. Just like making decisions in advance doesn’t guarantee the best possible outcome, ceding control to the deadline doesn’t always mean the outcome is bad – but it does mean that something else is in control.

This isn’t a plea to always make all decisions in advance no matter what, but it is a plea for us all to remember that time is always leading us to a place where a decision is forced upon us.