Can You Be Too Gazelle Intense?

This post is the first in a series about Values. Come back Wednesday for part 2. Any follower of Dave Ramsey has doubtless heard the phrase "gazelle intense" close to half a bajillion times. It's the level of intensity you need to accomplish a goal.

David Sharp

It's how focused you have to be if you want to succeed at the difficult things in life.

Say you want to scale Mount Everest. You get together with 39 of your closest friends. You train. You hire a fantastic sherpa.

You prepare with the best equipment possible.

You get gazelle intense.

You lay out a boatload of cash, between $20,000 and $65,000.

This is not an inexpensive journey, in dollars, time, or any other measure.

If you set this goal, you better believe, you're either gonna be gazelle intense, laser-focused on the summit or you're going to peter out pretty quick, turn back, and sip cocoa by the fire at some lodge near the base while everyone else in your group makes history.


Along the way, your group sees a man, sitting alone in the snow. He's sitting in "Green Boots Cave" next to the body of an Indian climber who died in that spot in 1996, and whose body was left there as a tragic landmark.

The cave was named for the first climber's green boots.

The year is now 2006, and the man sitting next to Tsewang Paljor's body is David Sharp, a mathematician from England. He is freezing to death, the blood in his veins slowly turning to ice. His body is starving for oxygen.

What do you do?

Over 40 climbers passed Mr. Sharp by. A few gave him token whiffs of oxygen before continuing on. Others, on the descent, assessed his situation as beyond saving and left him there to die in the cold. Alone.

What Do You Value?

Why do you think those climbers went past David and left him there to die? I'll tell you what I think, but please share your own thoughts in the comments below.

I think they calculated the cost of their trip, the cost of attempting it again, and the loss of their goal and decided that cost was too high to save one stranger's life.

They didn't value his life enough to save it at the cost of their goal.

Was he ill-prepared? Absolutely. Did he make mistakes? Certainly. Did David Sharp deserve to die on that mountain? No. Did he deserve to watch forty people walk past him and decide their own goals were more important to them than his life?

Gazelle intense can be a fantastic tool, but don't let it give you tunnel vision.

Do you see a different explanation for what happened on that mountain? Share it with us in the comments below!