As the world emerges from the ravages of the pandemic, we keep hearing about the new normal. What is the new normal? Are we going to continue to work from home? Will there continue to be limits on groups of people in public places? How will the education system evolve and adapt to a rapidly changing world? Are we simply just taking a breather as we prepare for the next wave or new pandemic?
Time will answer a lot of these questions, however, you don’t have to wait for society to define your new normal. Our lives have been upended over the last 18 months and we have all gone through tremendous changes in how we live, how we work, how we relate and what is truly important to us. Many people have actually enjoyed their time at home with their families and a more flexible work schedule. For others it has been challenging.
What is important to do now is to define your new normal and not let society do it for you. You see, many of us have been following paths that have been dictated by the society we live in, whether it is our parents, our families, the education system, our religious beliefs, social media, popular culture and advertising and marketing, to name a few of the influences, which shape our lives.
We have allowed these are many other external factors to shape our lives but now is the time to take our lives back. Discover what truly matters to you by defining your values and then creating your new normal around them. You see, if you don’t know what you value then you are at the whim of the world around you and it is only there to serve its own agenda, not yours.
You can only know your agenda by knowing what your values are. Values are more important than goals because you may chase after a certain goal and reach it only to realize that you climbed up the wrong ladder. If you know what your values are, you will pick goals that are in harmony with them and will ensure that you are living in alignment with who you truly are in essence. This is how you define your new normal by clarifying your values.
For example, my three greatest value are freedom, impact and connection and everything I do has to be in harmony with these values, otherwise I end up chasing goals that bring me more pain and misery than fulfillment. Define your new normal by defining what you truly value in your life. Do this by doing some deep introspection about when you have felt the most fulfilled and happy in your life.
Once you have defined your values, then you can design your new normal around these values, which will ensure that your goals and ambitions are in alignment with who you truly are are the deepest level. This is essential for your happiness and fulfillment, otherwise you will end up living by someone else’s agenda and follow their path through the wilderness.
Instead your job is to forge your own path through the wilderness, which will take you out of your comfort zone but open up a whole new world for you, lived in alignment with your values. This is the road less travelled and, if you dare to tread this path, your life will take you to places that you scarcely thought were possible.
This is why it is up to you to define your new normal. It could be the most important decision you make as we emerge out of the pandemic.
Dr. Nauman Naeem