Clear a Space

I’m about to give you the two most powerful words that will make you a better athlete and/or a better business person-spatial awareness. Have you ever heard of spatial awareness? While that sounds like some new age hippie talk, it’s simply the ability to perceive everything around you and how it relates to your existence. Spacial awareness is what makes an NFL receiver spin away from a defender despite not having seen him coming and the same thing that allows you to know the precise timing to jump when you can’t see the jump rope under you. To simplify it further, it is your ability to make sound judgments despite not completely understanding your surroundings-an athletic instinct.

What’s interesting is that spatial awareness is what separates the great companies with longevity from the subpar, flash in the pan companies. And do you know why? Great companies and great businesspeople are able to understand the space they’re working in without having to work at every single company in their space. For people that only speak in business jargon, substitute “space” with “industry” and it will become very clear.

Let’s use Apple as an example (it’s always Apple). They have always historically had smart people. But then again, every company has. What made Apple become the behemoth it is today? Apple had good spatial awareness when it came to their industry.

They didn’t have to canvas every single computer user in the world to understand that people wanted personal computers that were easy to use. They also didn’t have to spy on their competitors to know that everybody else in their industry had machines that were eyesores and hard to operate. It’s funny because they did/are doing what so many businesspeople by and large fail to do, which is simply taking the time to ask themselves, “Would I want to buy this product/service?”

It seems so obvious, but people far too often completely miss the mark when they are building a company, product, or service. Many software companies have problems with spatial awareness. While they’ll build this powerful product that can do anything the customer wants, they’ll forget to ask themselves, “Could my kids or spouse use this product without a lengthy tutorial?” You can’t have a good product with a horrible user experience just like you can’t have an awesome user experience without a quality product.

While that seems like a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” scenario, you’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter which came first. They’re both needed to successfully have chicken for dinner. Stay aware, my friends.

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