Gazelle Intensity or Lion’s Determination?

Deutsch: Grant-Gazelle (Gazella granti) beim F...

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Have you ever watched a nature show on National Geographic or Discovery Channel?  Or maybe, like me, you grew up watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  You’ve seen big cats chasing tasty morsels, like gnus, wildebeests and gazelles.  The prey runs like hell.  Their whole focus is getting away from this animal – lion, tiger, cheetah – that wants to eat them.  They are intense on escaping.

Dave Ramsey says to approach your debt snowball with that same intensity.  Look at it.  Those creditors are following you, ready to devour you with those high interest rates and the incessant calls when you get just a month behind on your payments.  Go wildly crazy, doing whatever it takes to get out of debt.  We had that gazelle intensity, and we quickly knocked out over $4,000 of our $11,500 in debt.

The frustrating part for me is, now I feel like I’m losing my gazelle intensity and have moved to a lion’s determination.  An African proverb I saw on a forum one time goes something like this:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and knows it must be faster than the slowest moving member of the herd, or it’s going to get eaten.  Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up knowing it must be faster than the slowest moving gazelle in the herd, or it’s going to starve.  Either way, when the sun comes up, you’d better hit the ground running.

The gazelle spends its days hypervigilant.  If I know something is going to sneak up and try to eat me, then I’m going to be constantly alert, constantly ready to run or defend myself.  After a while, I’d imagine that gets exhausting.  But what about the lion?  The lion runs after the gazelle, catches it, either eats it or drags it back to the pride, and then takes a nap.  The lion must be determined to hunt and catch prey lest it starve, but it also has opportunities to relax and rest.

We’ve lost our intensity, but not our determination.  We’re letting ourselves have some fun.  Instead of tossing all of our money into our debt snowball, we’re giving ourselves permission to use some of Peter‘s commissions to enjoy date nights.  Dave says to put all gifted money into the debt snowball, but I treated myself to a new dress and shoes (took advantage of some amazing deals in the process).  This is OK; it’s likely the only money I’ll spend on new clothes for myself all year.  And, yes, I’m probably justifying, but Peter and I haven’t had regular date nights in ages, so the idea of being able to go out, just the two of us, is pretty attractive.

We found some debts about which we had forgotten (but they’re genuine debts). And there were some other debts I thought we had that we didn’t, and yet others which were forgiven.  I’m grateful for those last two, and I’m grateful for the plan we have in place to address the first.  We should be able to be debt-free by this time next year, alongside having the first part of Baby Step 3 completed.

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