Hitch your wagon to a star

hitch (one's) wagon to a star

To pursue grand or lofty goals for oneself, often by partnering with someone or something that is already successful or revered. You can do anything you want, so why not hitch your wagon to a star? When I was trying to become a screenwriter, I hitched my wagon to a star by befriending some popular actresses.
See also: hitch, star, wagon

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!
See also: hitch, star, wagon

hitch your wagon to a star

make use of powers higher than your own.
This phrase was used by the American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1870 in the context of idealistic aspiration; modern usage generally has the more cynical implication of attaching yourself to someone successful or famous in order to profit from the association.
1998 Spectator [ Francis Bacon ] was among the first to hitch his wagon to the star of the repulsive George VilliersJames I's next favourite.
See also: hitch, star, wagon

hitch your ˌwagon to a ˈstar

,

hitch your wagon to somebody/something

try to succeed by forming a relationship with somebody/something that is already successful: She quit the group and hitched her wagon to the dance band ‘Beats’.We must be careful. We don’t want to hitch our wagon to the wrong star.
Hitch means to tie or attach something to something else.
See also: hitch, star, wagon

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