Rising Through Resilience: Clint Davis of Capsll App On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Risk, take them, and don’t over calculate. Obviously it is wise to do a certain amount of due diligence, but I have seen people talk themselves out of risks that — despite their success or failure — would have birthed great strength along the journey.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Clint Davis.
Clint is the CEO & Founder of the Capsll app. A former international radio host who was born in South Africa, has lived in four very diverse countries, and is on a mission to help people save, store, and share their life stories and memories while passing them on generationally.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Born in South Africa, I lived through the transition from the Apartheid system to the pursuit of democracy. The requirement of resilience is inherent in South African life, and that served my wife and me well as we ventured out of our home country in 2008 to live in Dubai on a shoestring budget. Further moves led us to live in Australia, and ultimately the U.S.A with our home in Austin, TX, after winning the green card lottery at a 0.73% chance.
This fulfilled a lifelong dream to live in this great nation, despite many telling us it was an impossible pursuit. Couple that to a 17-year professional radio hosting career and a decade-long high performance driving career, and the journey sounds glamorous to many. But it was not without struggle with every relocation on a near-to-zero budget.
Both the financial struggles and the cultural adjustments become an extended watershed moment filled with tough, life-defining decisions that drew on previous struggles ranging from growing up with a physically and emotionally abusive step father and losing two siblings, to setting the tone for future difficulties such as a battle with cancer just six months into founding Capsll Inc. All in all, the journey has made me the best version of myself for such a time as this.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I’m certain this is not my most interesting story, but it certainly is one that has stuck with me all these years. The absolute best advice I was given when starting my radio career was to forget that there are millions of listeners and speak to just the one, individual person, listening in.
I realized this truth when on my late-night shows I’d often have single, lonely people call into the show, not with any agenda other than to simply chat and feel connected. Most of these conversations were long, and happened off-air, in between my live segments. No one would have guessed that some of the most important work I was doing had nothing to do with what was being heard on-air, but rather the individual connections I was making with people in need of being known, valued. I was honored that they would call me.
I believe this understanding was integral to our vision for our startup and has shaped our core value of “person over product” in every decision we make, an approach that seems so polarized in our sphere of the tech world.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My former life as a radio host, coupled with living in multiple countries, have afforded me many great experiences along with some great challenges. A year ago I realized how much I’d love our kids to really know their parents. Not just the versions my wife and I have become through this life journey, but how and why we became these people. I further thought about my grandfather who was an orphan who worked his way to become a very successful CEO. How I’d love to hear his stories now that I’m old enough to appreciate them, but sadly he passed many years ago.
I quickly realized that while we live in a remarkable digital age, we have done a poor job in passing our personal histories on generationally. We don’t have a usable platform that can coach such storytelling, store our most precious memories in first-person with multiple media formats and then pass them on generationally, for good.
I realized that many would share in my desire and further recognized the basic human need to be known. Out of this place, Capsll was born, and we do everything we can to keep the app and the company centered on the value of each individual human life. There is a plan and a purpose for your life, your story matters, save your story!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I realize that the first person to come to mind for many would likely be someone of business or professional stature. For me, there is no other answer here other than my wife.
An amazing woman of unquestionable character and strength. Without her I simply would not be the person I am today, with enough empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence to be trusted, or to trust myself with such an important task as saving people’s most precious digital content, within the greater context of human history itself.
Our marriage, friendship and partnership in facing life together as a unified front, joined with our mutual faith, is the single greatest success of my life.
Imagine someone who meets you when you are the worst version of yourself and then encourages with the kind of consideration and wisdom that leads you to discover who you truly are, your very best self, and still growing. This done not in order to impress others or to achieve success, but purely to be content in oneself.
Not everyone gets to feel happy and comfortable with the person they are, within their own skin, but if you can find the right life partner to get there with, and tie yourselves boldly to faith, it will define what real success looks like … to like oneself, despite the highs and lows of the curveballs of life. From that self awareness you are free to treat people according to who you are, and not simply in response to how they treat you. It feels free indeed.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I once heard a great perspective from a preacher by the name of Tim Storey who spoke about lessons from his childhood while playing basketball. I’m not a huge basketball fan myself, but he spoke about the bounce-back effect of dribbling a basketball and likened that to resilience … the ability to bounce back.
That stuck with me, to the point where I decided to never allow myself to be a deflated basketball that doesn’t bounce back and fulfill its purpose. Given, there were many times that I wanted to just lay down and give up, but I knew that I’d made that decision years prior and if I could not stick to that, then I would be losing a core piece of myself.
Little did I know that every resilient person I have met shares in deep levels of sacrifice and risk. They surround themselves with healthy people, and set good boundaries, and the really resilient ones live with great humility, knowing that at any point they too could have been the punctured basketball. Resilience is a nice word, but you never truly know if you have it or not until it’s tested, over and over again, to a deeper degree each time. I have yet to meet someone who carries true resilience without having lived a paralleled journey of struggle and sacrifice to develop it.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Simply put, I see it like this … Courage is the cry of “CHARGE!,” resilience is the reward. I’m not certain that I’ve carried as much courage as I have carried pure blind faith, either way it’s served us well.
Courage seems to come in moments, often calling you into a journey. Along that journey, albeit a challenging pursuit, the opportunity for resilience will be presented. Once you cash in on resilience it becomes a tool or a weapon in your arsenal upon which you can draw time and time again.
You are free to make bolder decisions knowing that you’ve got what it takes to bounce back if necessary, but you can also take that tool out and show it to others, encouraging them while taking joy in those moments that often tried to destroy you, yet only sharpened and strengthened you. Yes, you have become resilient. It will take courage to do it again, but you are stronger now, wiser, more resilient, so go for it. You got this!
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
It may seem a little obvious for a former South African to choose this person, but my deepest respect in this context lies with former South African President, Nelson Mandela, or more affectionately known as “Madiba.”
Here is a man who became known as the “Father (Madiba) of a nation.” Political agendas aside — because many forget that he was a freedom fighter who indeed did participate in violent crimes, albeit against the tyrannical Apartheid system — here is a man who by his own confession was filled with anger and hate in his youth. He was imprisoned for 27 years, and exited to freedom a completely incredible version of himself.
I cannot imagine the resilience he needed to dig so deep to find. Amidst a crooked political system and brutal treatment while incarcerated, Madiba certainly had to “bounce back” many times, and possibly daily in certain seasons. He entered prison an activist and exited a leader of a nation only just birthing into freedom.
What would the mark of his reliance be? What fruit after all this time? What vengeance awaited? We were all concerned at the time of his release, but the proof was in the proverbial pudding. Resilience had born grace, wisdom, patience, perspective, forgiveness and leadership. Twenty seven years in a small cell, and he emerged a world changer. Resilience will do that.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
In 2001, I truly felt that I was meant to live in the United States. Later, when I met my wife, I would learn that she carried the same dream.
If you’re not a person of faith, then this may seem strange to you, but I felt as if God had a destiny for us, in and through this country, and that conviction set in so deeply that I refused to allow the naysayers’ words to take root in my mind or heart.
It’s a weird thing carrying a dream so intently while physically seeing the doubt, pity and complete disbelief in others’ eyes when you share it with them. That’s ok, because it’s not their mission; it’s yours. But it doesn’t make it easy.
My wife and I sat with attorneys in 2007 who assured us that we would never qualify to live in the United States. We made a move to Dubai for six years, Australia for two, and were then really unsure about what would be next. Based on our faith we had followed where we believed we were meant to go each time, while continuing to carry the dream of our ultimate destination in our hearts.
We had entered the green card lottery while in Dubai, simply because a friend had listed us as a reference and we became an upsell. That same friend was the reason we moved to Australia, to help him, his daughter and his wife who would ultimately lose her battle to breast cancer.
While there, we received a call from the U.S. State Department informing us that we had indeed won the green card lottery and could live in the United States. The chances of that happening: 0.73%.
So, that said, what is impossible? Perhaps there is no such thing. Perhaps there is. All I know is that we carried that vision for 20 years, and we will become American citizens in December 2021. Nobody else needs to affirm a dream given to you. Sure it’s nice when they do, and you will need wisdom along the way, but it’s yours to carry, yours to deem possible or not.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
When the Capsll app launches in January 2022, you will have the opportunity to view one of my digital time capsules that will tell much more detail to this story.
Rock bottom hit on the back of our highest high, the opportunity to live in the United States. Our first move was to Los Angeles, thinking that we could at least pick up entry level jobs in the entertainment industry, seeing as though my wife and I had extensive careers in the field.
What we did not know was how the intern system works, and that the jobs we sought were given to unpaid interns. The year and a half we spent in LA almost killed us. I had never truly understood loneliness, despair and depression till that point. My wife was showing major signs of PTSD, and I was bearing on suicidal thoughts having tied my identity so close to career performance, which was now completely lost.
It was an extremely tough time that broke us to the point of near homelessness. Like I said, there is so much more to this story, but suffice to say, out of the blue a long lost friend invited me to visit Austin, Texas. I scraped enough money together for a single ticket, visited, realized that in the words of the Eagles, I’d “found a place to make my stand,” and we made the move. Austin was a breath of fresh air that literally saved us from drowning. It’s hard to not feel the tears in my eyes telling that story, but, then again, it’s become a big part of who I am and how we run our company.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Phew! How long is this article? I guess once you recognize the first time to grow in resilience, you start to identify each difficulty as an opportunity to build it stronger.
I don’t ever remember an extended time in my life when I didn’t need to be resilient. From losing siblings at a young age, to living with an abusive step-father for almost two decades, being bullied at school, and many other circumstances right up to having to bounce back from a cancer battle in 2021, resilience kind of becomes a default in the face of adversity.
If I think about it, I had a few key figures in my life that set the tone. My aforementioned grandfather was one for them, and my mother was certainly another. Each faced massive opposition and overcame. When I look at that thread, I see that the tone a family unit sets is so very important. I may not have always been explicitly taught not to give up, but certainly recognized that as an ethos in our family. Once that understanding clicked, I’d recognize the rhetoric of overcoming in many places, from music, to movies, books and preachers. I believe church life played a massive role in that perspective, and I’m grateful for it. I’m not sure that I cultivated resilience, as much as it probably cultivated me.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Risk, take them, and don’t over calculate. Obviously it is wise to do a certain amount of due diligence, but I have seen people talk themselves out of risks that — despite their success or failure — would have birthed great strength along the journey.
- People, surround yourself with the good ones, let go of the toxic ones. There’s nothing quite as destructive to your resilience as a negative voice that continually opposes your goals, dreams, abilities, hopes, pursuits. Don’t allow for it in the slightest.
- Conviction, live it. Run from apathy, be a person of conviction. Decide what your contribution to this world will be, and pursue it, completely, dangerously, sometimes recklessly and mostly wisely.
- Spouse, prioritize her/him, choose carefully, find your best friend. Many people will come and go, but you will need that one lifelong partner who knows every piece of your journey, both together and individually. I don’t see any equivalent to a good spouse, who will believe in you, cheer you one, correct you, and dream with you.
- Faith, find it. There is no need to convert you to what I believe, but I would encourage you to continually find yourself on the journey of faith. Everything in this world is temporal, as is any success you will achieve. Resilience will need to be fueled by something greater than yourself.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Easy. Save your story. We live in a digital age where we have failed to preserve our individual histories in first person. As such, we are robbing future generations of the wealth of human history that defines humanity and celebrates the human experience.
People used to keep memoirs, make photo albums, publish biographies. Now, our memories are scattered across social media; they’re getting lost, if even recorded at all. This is why, while we at Capsll are creating a product, we truly are focused on inspiring a movement to save your life stories and pass them on generationally with the Capsll app.
We’re creating a brand new platform that will help you recount your stories, have full control over sharing them privately, and pass them on for generations to come. Our approach is that of “people over product,” and that is to say that while current platforms such as social media have pioneered a way to share digital content, we know that there is a better way. For example, Capsll has zero advertising, no user targeting, and our users have complete ownership of their content.
How devastating it would be for future generations to be left with either no history to draw from, or a dictated history. We can save our stories in first person, sharing them now or later, forever. Future generations can actually know you!
I’ll share just one example that is close to my heart. A friend who passed away from cancer left a few letters for her 10-year-old daughter to open on her wedding day. What if she could have left digital time capsules with images, video, text, documents, and her life lessons and stories. Can you truly place a value on that? Capsll, Save Your Story.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
Alright, alright, alright! I’d love to sit with fellow Austinite, Matthew McConaughey. Between his incredible art of storytelling, shared so beautifully in his book Greenlights, and his expressed desire to impact culture, I believe that not only would it be a mutually inspiring conversation, but Capsll would be an incredible tool for him to effect the kinds of changes he’s pursuing.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Great, thanks! The best is to connect through our website (link in bio), where you can join the waitlist for the app, contact our media team and find our socials. When it comes to investment, we can be contacted directly or via our crowdfund campaign at https://fundify.com/s/capsll/aa9dce01.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!