American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said in one of his essays, “Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labour, 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”.
If you aim for the moon, you will at least end up with the stars is a popular proverb. Our parents and teachers have always pointed this out to us. Set your goals high.
When I was in grade 8, there was a beautiful, bespectacled senior in grade 10 named Vini. She was my mother’s friend’s daughter and all I wanted was to be like her. She was an industrious student and a leader. Somehow my wagon was hitched to whatever she was. She is one of the top neurosurgeons in her region today. All I got was spectacles like her. Still, for the longest time, rising up to her standards was my goal. I became a better orator because I tried to copy her style and accent. ‘Being Vini’ improved me in many ways in those teen years.
The also-rans and wannabes deserve a chance too. Maybe they weren’t forerunners with the groundbreaking ideas in the first place, but they are stars in their own right too, because they didn’t give up on their dreams without trying! In the Olympics of life, who knows, you may actually get to do a Mutaz Essa Barshim moment of “Can we have two golds?”
Always aspire to do great things
There is the phrase ‘hitch your wagon to a star’. This means that beyond the capacities we possess, we must also pursue lofty ambitions by associating ourselves with someone or something highly respected. We must always strive to touch things that are beyond our reach.
If you do it respectfully, without trying to take undue advantage or profit of an association, there is no doubt that even if you did not become a star, you could at least be a speck of stardust. But the best part is that you would have earned valuable friends, if you had demonstrated integrity and seriousness.
To be a star, all you need is to be well-loved and popular in your field of competence.
Two weeks ago, I got involved in writing lyrics for our college alumni band. The energy was tangible, the talent was outstanding. They had rocked the corridors of our aristocratic college long before I set foot there. I was totally awed by their talent and composure. It gave me goals. I started dreaming about creating legendary songs of the ilke ‘We will, we will rock it!” For a week, I had the greatest fun bouncing ideas with a bunch of guys who were way senior to me. Who knows, what might happen if you hitched your wagon to a star.
Each creative work in this world, be it art, music, poetry, literature is a random adventure. Sometimes you lose the trail, sometimes you create magic greater than the sum of the parts. But always, it will give you answers on how to be your own star. You suddenly realise that the stars who have reached the public eye of name and fame, have constantly walked forward and risen above by taking action. Every single creative day had to be better than the previous one. And each step would be just ahead!
Feby Imthias is a writer based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Feby_Imthias