Bill Buckner and Foreclosures



Last week the New York Times ran and article called The Psychology of Choking Under Pressure.   Now, I’m not a big proponent of the term ‘choking’ but I get why they used it in this article. It’s really about how people sense the ‘stakes’ they are working/playing for. 

The study the Times quotes reveals some pretty counter-intuitive findings:

It may be that those of us who don’t like losses also have an exaggerated fear of failure, so we regard that opportunity to win $100 not as a chance for gain but as an outsize opportunity to fail. Conversely, people more comfortable with loss might harbor a surprising intolerance for losing what they already have.


This is interesting stuff and I encourage you to check out the article. So, what does it have to do with foreclosures? Short answer – a lot. I’m pretty sure.

I’ve seen it all from my clients – anger, fear, utter desolation, out-of-body optimism, doom and gloom; outright resignation, and a lot more. A good, good chunk of my early work with a new client is explaining that it’s not over. There are options; there will be decisions that have to be made; it’s not necessarily an irreversible course to losing the house; even if it is, there are paths to ease or minimize the impact.

‘There will be more decisions’ as the process goes … perhaps I need to define, up front, what a ‘win’ would be in any given foreclosure defense. Then, as the story says,

. . . For now, the practical takeaway seems to be that you should figure out your tolerance for loss and frame high-pressure situations accordingly. You are likely to find it easier to avoid choking if you take into account your complicated relationship to winning.

Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t Buckner’s fault, Stanley wasn’t covering first anyway.