The “New Normal” Will Not Be Very Normal


Whatever “normal” means, I’m not sure we will be seeing a lot of it in the foreseeable future.

One definition of normal is “that which is most common.” The normal course of action is that which we would take most of the time, in the absence of unusual circumstances. It’s the idea of one size fits all (or at least most). The thing is, there aren’t going to be many questions to which one answer is right most of the time. The answer to most important questions will be a version of “it all depends.” The world will be like a country where no political party commands more than 15% of the vote, or a record shop where no musical genre accounts for more than 10% of sales.

Another definition of normal is “that which is familiar, which we understand and know how to deal with.” There’s going to be even less of that sort of normal around. Industry best practice and standard operating procedures will need to¬† be treated with extreme caution, for they describe how to operate in a world that no longer exists. Most previously sought-after specialists will be specialists in how things used to be.

So what does it all mean? It means that in the next few years everything¬† will feel strange and there will be no reliable rules to follow. If anyone talks to you about “back to normal,” be very wary. I would take issue with “back” and I would take issue with “normal.” “to” is probably OK, though.