29-year-old Kevin Durant is in the middle of another campaign to drive his team to the NBA Finals and perhaps a championship. However, it is no secret that the former 2nd overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft is not only excelling on the court but off of it as well, as recently described by Rich Kleiman, who is a partner of Durant's at The Durant Company and Thirty Five Media.
Durant displays brilliance well beyond his age and despite spending countless hours on his true trade -- being a professional athlete. Some of his important words of wisdom came out in a recent ESPN article, highlights of which are included below and should be incorporated by all businesspeople.
1. Surround yourself with strong mentors.
When you're Kevin Durant, this may be an easier task, since influential people are also probably interested in surrounding themselves by Durant. But even if you can't entertain an audience, look to others who have achieved excellence in areas of interest for assistance. Learn from their success and failures so that you can emulate what they have done right and avoid their missteps.
2. Don't involve yourself in pursuits that are bad fits.
All too often, businesspeople find themselves trapped in a business or industry that they didn't intend to be a part of and have little-to-no interest in. An easy way to avoid this trap is to first figure out what interests you and what you want to accomplish before entering any given business. Durant looked at "the business of me first" and then hired people who could push his vision.
3. Don't waste time.
This is a tough task, as it is often tough to figure out what is a time waster as opposed to something that is worthy of your attention. For Durant, he cut out endorsement deals that often pay good money up-front, but take a lot of time away from his other pursuits and may not be as lucrative or enjoyable as investing in companies he cares about.
4. Remove your ego.
This is my favorite advice from Durant, and it is the real reason why I find him to be much wiser than his age.
"You have to remove the ego of it and realize that you don't know it all," said Durant about how he best learned business. "I want to learn more about this life and this business and this world. So I've got to ask questions, and I've got to have an open mind to it all. Your brain kind of functions a little different as you get older."
As Durant says, it's not only about removing ego, but also listening and asking questions instead of demanding that your voice be heard at all times. This is important whether it be for someone looking at possible investments or to grow a business from scratch.