Erik Kruger is a well-known motivational speaker and author. I don’t believe it is an over-exaggeration to call him one of the leading keynote speakers of this era. He has left deep global footprints with his talks, too.
Of late, his book “Dangerous” has been the buzzword. Not just that; it was also listed on Nielsen BookScan 100 best-seller list for three consecutive weeks.
So why all the hype?
Well, his life-changing book is the tool guide to navigating the evolved world we all live in since Covid-19 made its arrival.
In a chat with Kruger, he shed more light on what inspired the book and its cathartic impact on him as well.
With the past two years of having Covid-19 a part of our lives, how would you describe your state of mind, especially since you are a motivational speaker?
Erratic. I think that has been the general experience for us all. Some days are good. Other days are bad. Some days are filled with direction. On other days, none.
I did make a point though of being conscious and aware of how I was feeling. I wanted to better understand what triggered certain mental states and what helped me to shift mental states when needed.
This book was inspired by a question from one of your clients – but you felt its weight given the head space that you were in. Please tell us more.
The head space that you are referring to here is something we all know as survival mode. Survival mode can be a physical space (you are fighting for survival) or a mental thing (you are feeling de-fanged and de-clawed).
I was working with a client a few years ago and everything in his life was going really well except that he was mentally in survival mode. This paradox was interesting to observe. Personally, I realised that I was in a similar situation.
And so what became interesting to me was trying to answer the question: “What leads to us being in survival mode?”
After much contemplation, I realised that it’s because we become harmless. We lose that which makes us formidable, our bite, our edge. And because of this we slowly become overwhelmed by the challenges and threats in our lives and therefore end up in survival mode.
With so many people working from home – as a new norm – and perhaps a little less guarded (and dare I say more complacent) how pertinent is your book right now?
Following on from the previous question, complacency is one of the biggest threats we have to guard against. It’s complacency that dulls our skill and weakens our resolve. It’s complacency that slowly degrades our momentum until we come to a complete standstill.
The book is therefore relevant in that regard but extends well beyond it. We all face different kinds of threats every single day. Threats to your business, to getting your job done, to your relationships, and to your health.
How you respond to these threats matters. This book serves as a guide for optimally responding against threats.
How would you say this book will empower and, perhaps, inspire individuals out there?
I believe that the book provides individuals with empowering language so they can more accurately describe what they are experiencing when in survival mode. It also has a strong call to action and reminder – you can be a threat to the threat. You are not powerless.
Lastly, the book provides a methodology for thinking about how you respond to the challenges in your life.
It’s part motivation, part philosophy, part practical advice.
Obviously, you embarked on a journey of your own in writing this book, tell us about your cathartic/“aha” moments or takeaways from the process?
The idea for the book was semi-formed before the pandemic. However, the pandemic proved to be the perfect testing ground for the main idea of the book.
I found myself in survival mode at multiple points during the pandemic. And every time I turned to the idea in the book to see if it can truly help me change the state that I am in.
What I found was that survival mode has a strong gravitational pull to it. Escaping it is not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of work and effort. Generating the energy required to create momentum is truly a demanding task.
However, once you realise that how you show up is determined by how you think, feel, and act. You realise that you can create patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that will help you to escape survival mode if you can consistently slot into these patterns.
It’s not easy. But it’s doable.
What has the feedback been on the book?
The book has been well received. We have managed to land across a few different best-seller lists, including being a national business best-seller.
Are you planning any upcoming tours and, if yes, where to?
At the moment, no. Mostly still Zooming in and out of conferences and events.
From your observations in dealing with your clients (you don't have to name drop unless you can/want to), what are some of the things you have picked up on that you also unpack in the book?
Two things. I have mainly noted the universality of the survival mode experience. None of us gets a pass on this. At some point, you will end up in survival mode. It’s okay to be there. You just can’t stay there. This is important for us to know as individuals, as teams, and as organisations.
That the call to be dangerous is exciting and inspiring. When I speak about being dangerous, I am talking about creating a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting that helps one to overcome the challenges and threats in their life.
It’s the way we use dangerous when describing Tiger Woods on the golf course or Cheslin Kolbe on the rugby field. We all have a desire to be formidable. To accelerate forward. To take some risk.
To grow. And ultimately, the book is there to help you be a little dangerous again.
“Dangerous” is published by Tracey McDonald Publishers and is available in all good bookstores and for purchase online.