Dave Ramsey Gazelle Intensity and the PF BlogosphereThursday, January 31st, 2008
Dave Ramsey is pretty big in the personal finance blogosphere. Whether you love him or hate him, he gets a lot of posts published about him as a “financial guru” (or “hypocrite” or “con man” or “cult leader” or even “liar” as one recent blog mentioned!) and also about his get-out-of-debt ideas.
There’s a considerable amount of bloggers on each side of the fence. I am firmly in the “love Dave Ramsey” camp. Some are firmly in the “hate Dave Ramsey” camp. But there is actually a third camp, and this is the group that makes me bite my fingertips: people who blog about Dave Ramsey without really knowing what he says or writes! There are quite a few in this camp who might read a snippet on another blog and pop off without doing all the research. Then there are a few who will take the time to do a little research over at DaveRamsey.com but still not really understand what the message is.
I’m going to pick on PaidTwice (with her permission!) and her misunderstanding of the Dave Ransey term “gazelle intensity.” She posted today saying she isn’t a gazelle, but a cheetah …. ummm … yeah she hasn’t been through Financial Peace University or attended a Live Event to see Dave Ramsey’s whole gazelle-and-cheetah routine.
I tried to warn her before it posted that she didn’t really want to call herself a cheetah in the same post as mentioning Dave Ramsey. She says she read the explanation on the Dave Ramsey site about gazelle intensity, and even links to it. Now I will agree with her that this specific explanation doesn’t capture the true meaning.
Along with being the fastest mammal on dry land, cheetahs are predators … and that is the metaphoric way Dave Ramsey uses them to represent credit card companies and in general any pure lending company that exists only by “feeding” off of people. They are definitely the fastest in the financial world when it comes to slapping fees on their customers!
The whole idea of gazelle intensity comes from a Bible verse in Proverbs: “Deliver yourself like the gazelle from the hand of a hunter.” Dave Ramsey says he didn’t understand that verse until he saw the gazelles and the cheetah on the Discover channel and watched the clips of gazelles running to escape the faster cheetah. Gazelles run and bob and weave and dodge because their very lives depend on it! Dave Ramsey says this is how you should get out of debt, since your very financial life depends on it if you want to thrive as well as survive.
So even after her explanation, why would I still insist she shouldn’t want to be “cheetah intense?” Well I watched that same Discover channel show on the gazelles and the cheetahs … and cheetahs have NO staying power. They are very fast sprinters, but give up quickly since they only catch one gazelle in 19 chases. They’re really not very sucessful either at catching the gazelles, all in all. The gazelle gets away 18 out of 19 times! I’ll take my chances on the gazelle side of this equation, even though I don’t consider myself to be truly gazelle intense. More on that last bit in another post…