Hitch your wagon to a star

Hitch your wagon to a star.

Prov. Always aspire to do great things.; Do not set pessimistic goals. (From Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Civilization.") The speaker who delivered the high school commencement address challenged the graduating students to hitch their wagons to a star. Bob: What do you want to be when you grow up? Child: I used to want to be a great actor, but my dad told me hardly anybody gets to be an actor, so now I have to pick something else. Bob: Nonsense. If you want to be an actor, then do your best to be an actor. Hitch your wagon to a star!
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hitch your wagon to a star

Set high goals. The phrase come from an 1862 Ralph Waldo Emerson essay “American Civilization”: “Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods themselves. That is the way we are strong, by borrowing the might of the elements. The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets, wind, fire, serve us day by day, and cost us nothing.” It used to be heard among other bit of avuncular or graduation speech advice. Then advice for the future became more specific, like “plastics” in the movie The Graduate. Nowadays, in this economy, your guess is as good as mine.
See also: hitch, star, wagon