(Issue #531) Questioning Normal

What is it? What was it? Will it return?
And maybe more importantly, should it return as it was?

During the last four months, certain words and phrases have become commonplace references. Like:

  • Abundance of caution
  • Crazy times
  • Essential
  • Flattening the curve
  • The curve
  • The numbers today
  • Uncertain
  • Unprecedented

One of the words that we hear often is normal. As in,

  • When we return to normal.
  • Will we return to normal?
  • Waiting for the new normal.

A recent article by Rachel Khong poses the following:

Was normal ever good?
Or was normal actually complacency and negligence?

In other words, question the notion of normal. What is it? What was it? Will it return? And maybe more importantly, should it return as it was?

This does not make light of any of the hardships and tragedies that have occurred and affected/traumatized people over the course of the pandemic. I feel certain that (at some level) nurses, for one, would like to go back to what normal was before their hospitals lacked beds, resources, and PPEs to protect themselves and by extension their patients and loved ones.  For those who have lost wages, jobs, housing, investments, and healthcare, a return to what was normal might mean a place to sleep, food on the table, and a doctor’s visit. For the families who have lost loved ones, a new normal may never present itself.

Hard to argue with any of that. And I am not.  Life has been upended. No question.

The two questions Khong presented (above) take us in another direction.  Especially her second question. Does normal become an escape route for complacency and negligence?

Can comfortable sabotage our growth?

Are we tempted to hang on to a status quo that may not have been working for us any longer?  Do we avoid the heavy lifting of community-improvement because, after all, “normal” seemed “rather good” for a long time?  Why don’t we just tweak this or that for a new normal?

Do our goals represent a sense of complacency and negligence to address hard issues? Do you work with a community organization that keeps on doing the same thing meeting after meeting, month after month, year after year because that has become the normal? After all, the consensus may be, that’s how we do things around here, fella!

Or do you challenge the normal with new habits that confront staid ways and encourage growth?

How does your future look—and what needs to be done to get there?


Video recommendation for the week:

Bill Gates’ view on returning to a “normal life.”


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

About stevepiscitelli

Facilitator-Author-Teacher
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2 Responses to (Issue #531) Questioning Normal

  1. marianbeaman says:

    I believe many think of return to “normal” means return to what feels familiar, to how life used to be. I don’t think that’s going to happen. If so, it’ll take a long time. I believe we’ll need to get used to masks and social distancing to get over the “hump”!

    In the meantime, we do our best to stay creative, in the zone, kind and resilient.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It has led to a review of what and where to put focus. That is for sure. You are right–creativity helps.

    Liked by 1 person

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