2 Things That Changed My Life . . . And They Were Free

Free is good, Right?

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
5 min readOct 7, 2022


Four stones balanced on each other on a beach stretching towardss the heavens.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

FOR AS LONG AS I could remember, I knew I had to change my life, but I wasn’t sure how to change. Because of the pandemic and the lockdowns, I had plenty of free time to think long and hard about it, I read books, I listened to podcasts, I read blogs, I watched Youtube videos, and I even watched Ted Talks but to no avail I still was just as lost as ever.

I became an athlete of introspection — I never stopped analyzing myself. “It is never too late or too early to care for the well-being of the soul,” Epicurus said. So, my sole purpose in life was to study myself.

Even after putting in all those long hours researching my delima, it seemed as if I was moving backward instead of forward. I knew where I was and where I came from and where I wanted to be But I had no clue on how to get to my destination.

My search for change wasn’t something that happened in a matter of weeks or even in a matter of months. My search has been going on for years if not decades. And in my search I kept coming to the conclusion I was a failure. I was a loser. I was a sad, sad, person.

But during the last few years I kept searching for ways to change my life. After reading an obscure post it dawned on me, what I was missing was nothing I could buy in fact, I realized there were two things affecting my life, one was a lack and the other was in abundance: negative ruminations and smiles. Too much negative ruminations and a severe lack of smiles.

WHEN IT COMES TO DISCUSSING negative rumination's, psychologists use the term “automatic negative thoughts” to describe the ideas such as, “I never do anything right” or “I’m such a loser” that pop into our heads. These ANTs sabotage our best self, and lead to a vicious circle of misery: creating a general mindset that is variously unhappy, anxious, or angry.

In “8 Types of Negative Thoughts Limiting Your Potential,” Melody Wilding, LMSW asks, “Have you ever felt like your own worst enemy? As if the main thing standing in your way of greater success are your own thoughts and perceptions?” This is a very…



A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer