By The Good Newspaper
Felix Cousins is a 22-year-old YouTube influencer From Cape Town whose channel focuses on motivation, upliftment, and intentional living, and who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently. Growing up, Felix had his fair share of troubles both at home and at school, with a growing depression that eventually led to Him both picking up 45kg’s, culminating in his dropping out of school around grade 11. It was then, at 17, that his depression was at its peak. His turnaround started at 19 and for the next three years it continued. Since those dark-days Felix has transformed his life for the better through tremendous effort, changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as cultivating a new mindset of determination and resilience. He has since lost the initial 45kg’s and is continually pushing himself in various aspects of his life in order to break through old boundaries and create novel challenges and goals for himself. In 2021 his content on YouTube changed dramatically, as he shifted from gaming videos into the realm of self-help, posting videos about his transformative journey, hoping to inspire and catalyse change through authenticity. This methodology is a differentiating factor from the typical self-help guru’s, as Felix says that his hope and continuing success lies not in, “attempting to peddle or promote that which I do not know, but rather, attempting to reach out to others who are struggling in their daily lives through the lesson’s I have learned in my own lived experience.”
In talking about the importance of goal setting and the motivation required to keep oneself on track, his response was that he believed it to be crucial to write down the goals you are aiming toward, and to continually check up on them to see the extent of your progress. Sometimes, the goals we set are unrealistic, and so it should not be seen as a failure when one is forced to rethink the viability of the goal. Setbacks happen, he says, commenting on unexpected twists of fate, “but it is paramount to work with them, instead of being overwhelmed, discouraged, or giving up.” He then elaborated on his own experience with this dilemma, describing a situation he had found himself in a few weeks prior when on a morning run. Felix was on track to achieving his blue belt in Jiu Jitsu, when he ended up slipping on a path and sustaining a deep laceration on his right leg. This led to multiple stitches which would eventually force him to forfeit an up-coming competition. Having had the foresight to realize that it would be better to recuperate fully, rather than to risk a more serious injury, Felix says he still feels as if he is on track to achieving his goal.
In this consumer culture we live in, where advertisers are constantly pushing the newest products and attempting to persuade us that they have the solutions to our seemingly ever-growing "needs", Felix is a proponent of minimalism. Keeping the essentials for his daily routine in his backpack, he says it helps him to be more organized. Furthermore, he mentions that the common mindset around giving things away that are no longer needed, is that it makes space for the new, however, the more he throws out, the less he feels needs. Felix also emphasized the importance of not seeing one’s possessions with a sense or title of proprietorship, instead, seeing them more along the lines of temporary acceptance, having gratitude for these things without the constant obsession, or attachment over them.
Related to the question and paragraph above, another phrase Felix brought up during the interview was that of acceptance over ownership, where he urges against what is called, “extreme ownership” wherein everything that happens in one’s life is essentially put under the guise of one’s personal responsibility. He comments on the mindset involved, saying that while he feels it has its place, (say, in the military) it is less effective in daily living. That, while it is important to take responsibility for your own life and the consequences of your own behaviour, there is a limit, after which the benefits decrease and the negatives, such as unwarranted guilt, can arise.
In the response to the question of how he was able to overcome his depression, and start building a better life for himself, as well as how he kept himself motivated, Felix’s answer was a genuine one, focusing on the importance of being open and honest about where you are and how you are feeling; that it really is such a personal journey, and though no one can get you out of this circumstance but yourself, it is crucial to open up to those close to you about these things. He also mentioned that everyone has different stages which they go through in their journey of life, that these things cannot be directly compared. Forgiveness is another key point touched on, as his first step was one of self-forgiveness, without which, he would not have been able to build on, and ultimately improve his life trajectory. Tears - A Poem by Felix Cousins
In 2018 he created a start-up company called 1ShotMarketing with the aim of helping the economy through the building up of businesses, assisting them with and through media management, with the long-term goal of helping to educate South Africans on how to make money dependably online. Furthermore, with a vision to empower people and build businesses, he is continually striving to help smaller businesses keep up with larger corporations with regards to their social media and marketing influence and impact. In his response to achieving a goal he set for his marketing agency in the last year, which was signing three new clients, Felix was ecstatic, mentioning that he was so grateful for having been able to accomplish the next step toward the continued growth of his business and his dreams.
Felix’s mission, when it comes to his YouTube channel, is to help those who are struggling with their lives, who perhaps don’t have someone to reach out, or don’t feel comfortable with their present circumstances, to be a source of inspiration and motivation through an authentic approach. “We should always speak from our own perspective,” Felix concludes, “because it’s the only perspective that is true to us”. A catch phrase he often uses in his YouTube clips is that of “Keep going”, reminding us that life can be tough, but it is exactly these challenges that, when overcome, lead to a more fulfilling life, harking back to the adage: “The only true failure is in giving up” - and even then, failure is not the end. Life carries on, and there will be chances anew, as some doors close, others open. Most importantly, remember, you are not alone: keep going!