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Dave Ramsey urges audience to learn from mistakes


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. – Dave Ramsey, personal money-management expert and national radio personality, spoke on the “power of intentionality” April 19 during the Ned Ray McWherter Institute’s Igniting Innovation event at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Ramsey reflected on his first trip up the financial ladder not long after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ramsey said he made mistakes after obtaining close to $4 million in real estate property, and the bank notes came due.

“We hit rock bottom – ‘splat!’ And I remember standing in the shower … I just stood there and cried because I was so screwed – a 28-year-old kid with babies, and I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills,” he said. “I went from nothing to rich to nothing. … I’d like to tell you we bounced back, but when you fall that far you really don’t bounce, it’s more of a splat. I sat around and whined and complained to everybody else. … You’re either a victim or a victor, and you get to decide, I guess. I blamed everybody else for a while, and then I figured out it was my fault. I think they call that growing up.”

Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. His company, Ramsey Solutions, is committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills and enhance their lives through personal development. Ramsey has authored seven best-selling books. “The Dave Ramsey Show” is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on more than 600 radio stations and digitally through podcasts, online audio streaming and a 24-hour online streaming video channel.  

However, his first attempts to break into the financial management world were less than perfect. In fact, he fell short of his distribution goals for the “Financial Peace University” program during its first four years on the market. Now, after decades of persistence, that course is taught all over the world, to many United States military personnel and to 41 percent of high school students.

Ramsey told more than 300 people in attendance that failure is not only an expected part of life, it is the part of life that truly makes successful people who they are.

“If you’ve made a mistake, learn from your mistake and put something fresh in to offset the junk in your life. If you’ve made a mistake that means you’re breathing. You’re human. You’re part of this race we call the human race. If you haven’t made any, you’re not trying hard enough,” he said. “The gleaming mountain of success is actually a huge pile of garbage; (successful people are) just standing on it instead of lying under it.”

Ramsey stressed the idea that what a person chooses to put into his life is what he should expect to reap.

“If a farmer plants corn, he isn’t shocked when corn comes up. If you plant cotton, you expect cotton to grow. If you plant nothing, you kind of expect dirt. You’re going to get back what you put out 100 percent of the time. The same is true with our minds. What we put into our mind, what we put into our brain, what we put into our spirit, that’s what we’re going to get out,” he said. “The mind is incredibly fertile land. Here’s what’s interesting, even if you’ve screwed up, even if you’ve failed, even if you’ve messed up, if you just start putting clean in … it will flush out the garbage.”

He later advised the audience to write out specific, measurable mission statements for their dreams. Dreams wearing “work clothes” become goals, he said, and goals that aren’t born of dreams lack energy and will go nowhere.

Ramsey appeared as keynote speaker of the 2018 Igniting Innovation event – a fundraiser for UT Martin’s Ned Ray McWherter Institute. NRMI is a selective program that focuses on promoting innovation by offering students a three-year experience to grow both individually and collaboratively through mentorships, domestic and international travels, networking events and professional development training.

The evening, organized by the institute’s sophomore class, was reserved for table sponsors and invited guests and raised approximately $40,000 for the institute.

For more information on the Ned Ray McWherter Institute, contact Joyanne Gansereit, program coordinator, at 731-881-3620 or by email at


PHOTO ID: Dave Ramsey (center) is pictured with University of Tennessee System President Joe DiPietro (left) and UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver.

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