1 surprising lesson about dream chasing from a Heisman Trophy winner.

Last night, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy.

That means, a panel of 800+ college football experts from around the country voted he was the best player in the 2014-2015 season.

It’s an extraordinary accomplishment, but what’s most surprising about it is how many schools offered Mariota a scholarship to play football.

There are 120+ division 1 football programs.

Given that he was named the best played in all of college football this year, how many scholarships do you think he received?

12 colleges? That would be 10%.

6? That would be 5%.

3? Surely 2.5% of the schools in the country saw his potential.

The number of schools that offered him a scholarship is one.

Oregon is the only school to offer him a scholarship. Part of the reason is that he lives in Hawaii and despite the number of players that island has produced it still remains largely overlooked in recruiting circles.

You might never play college football.

You might never be a quarterback.

You might never win the Heisman.

But you will be overlooked as you chase your dream.

People are going to ignore the work you are doing.

You will tell 119 people you’re working on something awesome and only one will respond.

That’s what happened to Marcus and it’s what happens to everyone chasing a dream at some point.

When it does, remember this:

The world’s ability to recognize your dream is not a reflection of whether you should chase it.

The world’s ability to understand your dream is not a reflection of whether you should chase it.

The world’s ability to support your dream is not a reflection of whether you should chase it.

Throw the passes when no one is watching. Write the pages no one sees. Work through the business plans people don’t believe in yet. Hustle long before the spotlight finds you.

You don’t need the whole world on your side to create something that changes the world.

p.s. If you want support for your dream, if you want to be part of an online community the likes of which you’ve never seen, join the 10-Day Do Over Challenge.

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff


  1. So far I’ve got so many people behind me but I’ve heard others who are not so fortunate say that they feel unnoticeable. What a great message, to never give up. You will get your turn if you keep hustling.

  2. Jon, thanks for this today. It fits perfectly with where I am with my planning for the new year. I need to make my plan, and then follow the plan. The rest will fall into place.

  3. Love this. Reminds me of Field of Dreams. Some folks won’t see it or understand…build it anyway. 🙂

  4. Overlooked, ignored, misunderstood. I spent the first 35 years of my life convinced that I didn’t matter, that I wasn’t good enough, that all the great ideas and innovators of the world had something I did not, and could not possess.

    Then, I decided that “mattering” was a personal choice and whether or not I mattered was all in my own head. I still struggle with these doubts, but I still go on, chasing my dream. I talk to anyone who will listen and I stay committed to my vision, even when I’m feeling like no one is noticing.

    Jon, you are doing great things, empowering us and keeping us going. Thanks for staying committed – for holding the bar up and encouraging us to keep going after our dreams.

  5. If the dream involves moving from Hawaii to Portland though. . .

    • Derek Duff

      Casey, U of Oregon is in Eugene, about 3 hours south of Portland. Whole different animal. With that being said, the campus , amenities and support for the athletes is 2nd to none with the support they get from Phil & Penny Knight.

  6. Love the article;) Go Ducks too;)

  7. Exactly what I needed to read as I get ready to launch MomsOfInfluence.com. Thank you Jon Acuff!

  8. Kimberly Forbes

    I’ve needed to hear this more than once, and I’m glad you said it another way for me today. The no’s are not overwhelming my belief!

  9. Scott Boley

    My brain tells me that what you’re saying is spot on and great advice. However, at age 55 now and having watched my dream fly by after years of effort — and as my wife and I are in the middle of living through one of the toughest years of our 31-year marriage, I’ve never been more discouraged than I am right this minute.

    It’s very tough — no, right now it’s impossible — to see through the eyes of optimism, even though we love Jesus and are continuing to serve him no matter what goes wrong or how people may treat us.

    Just know that such advice, while no doubt true, is very hard to grab onto by us who are in the midst of a genuinely discouraging series of disappointments and setbacks.

    Nevertheless, thanks for the truth in your words.

    • I’m Going to pray 4 you Scott.

    • Hi Scott,
      So sad to read you story.
      I am in your shoes to some degree. I almost died in April 2102 on my 69th birthday from end stage kidney dis-ease. Later on that year i found out that my sister manipulated my 98 year old mother to cur me out of her will completely. Mom died in 2013.
      So for my i look at it as “dropping back to punt” (in the theme of Marcus). I decided to move on and renovation my dream. So now i am writing 15 ebooks for Kindle, working out 5 days a week to be as healthy as I can be and being the most caring, loving partner to the love of my life, Renee.
      So the revised dream, goal is to live fully until the day I die.
      Its not over ’til its over.
      Good luck and i hope you choose to experience your courage to redefine your life.

  10. Awesome reminder! A year ago I woke up to the fact that I was making the mistake of my life, and at nearly 500 pounds I had literally been eating myself to death. I snapped out of it, hit it hard, and as of now I’m in my 260’s, having lost nearly half my body weight in under a year without resorting to fad diet or weight loss surgeries. Along the way I’ve encountered people who have literally acted as though this isn’t a big deal. I’ve even encountered folks who criticized me for doing this. You can’t let the apathy (or criticism) of others stop you. Press on, never give up, and you might just accomplish something amazing in your life.

    • Lindsay

      Jim, what an inspiration you are! I am embarking on a weight-loss journey and I was so uplifted reading your story. You are amazing and incredibly brave.

  11. Great, encouraging word today! I’m reminded to keep my eyes on the vision and not get caught up in the approval of others.

  12. As I’m rereading “Start” right now this is a really powerful post. Going through the learning stage it’s easy to get bogged down by stuff you aren’t good at, but the transition into the editing stage allows you to hone your dreams and really dial in on what’s important. When you do that it becomes a little bit easier to tell people you believe in something whether they do or not.

  13. I see what you did there.

    I like it.

  14. Jon,

    Thanks for the reminder to stay the course and keep producing even if it doesn’t feel like we are getting anywhere. I have never been more focused about pursuing my dreams and getting my blog where it needs to be than I am right now and incrementally I am seeing results.

    It feels great to have a plan in place and keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

    Thanks for all you do to encourage others!


  15. Hey, world, I don’t need your permission or your approval.

  16. Great post Jon! It’s so true that being ignored or misunderstood by the world is often part of chasing a dream!

  17. Jessica Jeffers

    So my bible study leader sent this to me today. Yesterday I happened to find out that my dream college, FSU pushed back my decision day to March. I was absolutely crushed because that meant the odds of me getting in had become even smaller. This post has honestly helped me so much! Just because this college didn’t give me a chance doesn’t mean I will have a horrible time at the other.

  18. Ezekiel

    Dear Mr. Acuff,
    I’ve been playing hockey for two years now. Your books, Quitter and Start, have helped me hustle at my dream of becoming a hockey player. I’m just a kid, but your books have changed my life.

    Ezekiel, 9