George Harrison, lead guitar player for the Beatles, had his last single released on May 12, 2003 – less than two years after he died. The song, titled “Any Road,” has much more history than the date of its release implies. Harrison publicly performed the song once during an interview on VH1 in 1997, nine years after he wrote it in 1988. But that’s not where its story began.
Beatles fans may be able to trace its roots to “Revolution 9,” the avant-garde sound collage made up of various sound loops, vocal excerpts, musical riffs, and spoken ramblings included in its final release on the Beatles White Album. The words, “any road” are spoken by both John Lennon and George Harrison on the track, mingled among the many spoken and sung excerpts that make up “Revolution 9.”
But before any of those things came to the minds of their creators, there was a conversation between a young girl and a mischievous, illusive cat.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Carroll, L. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll’s famous book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is said to be the inspiration for Harrison’s song. If you’ve started down the road of change or improvement, you also may have stopped yourself along the way. Fear, fatigue, or distraction can get in the way of progress.
No, Alice, it won’t. The only sure way to know what road to take (or which ones will lead you where you want to go) is to identify your destination. You can take a detour, take a break from your progress, or change your route at any time. Without an end point, you’re simply wandering. The destination or goal can be a change in attitude or behavior, or it can be a small step on your way to a big transformation. The key is knowing where you want to go.
If you decide to take on change without any plan or success markers, you’ll likely run low on energy. Sure, it’s great to have a desire to improve, but if that desire isn’t tied to some end point or success indicators, it may not sustain you through the duration of the change. What if it were linked to something vital, like your purpose for being on earth? How would it change for you?
Maybe you’re still searching for your purpose. Some people are, and some people have already discovered why they’re here. If you’re still searching, maybe now is the time to commit to finding that purpose. Try this 10-lesson course on finding and connecting to your life’s purpose on Lifevise at https://lifevise.com/finding-your-life-purpose/. Maybe it will help you choose the road that will take you to your destination.
George Harrison knew that walking without a destination will lead you to no place in particular. And he reminded us over and over in the chorus of “Any Road” of that very thing…
But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there.
Harrison, G. “Any Road”