Book Review: Henry Fraser, ‘The Little Big Things’
It is a struggle to remember a time when a book so succinctly and honestly demonstrated the strength it takes to overcome adversity and how, despite such a tragic sequence of events, one man can use his life-altering experience to teach us all a little something about each day being a good day.
It’s rather astonishing. Everything that happened to Henry Fraser could have destroyed his way of life, but instead, he has worked to make his experiences benefit him by providing him a completely different way of life he never realised or appreciated could be his before.
When he was injured in a freak accident on holiday in 2017 – a happening which resulted in him becoming paralysed from the shoulders down – there is little doubt he could have never pre-empted how his life now, in 2020, could have turned out.
An aspiring rugby player then, today he is a mouth artist, a public speaker, a charity promoter, an author and an inspiring figure within society.
His book, ‘The Little Big Things’ is a beautifully profound look at his road back from the injury which inspires a new thinking, and appreciation, on an individual’s approach to life. From the everyday occurrences, to the defining moments.
It’s the simplicity of his lessons that are quite possibly the most thought-provoking. For something so simple has come to be so important to the everyday life of this young man who took a hard-to-swallow deal from life and made it into a pathway to build from.
Henry defines his first lesson, ‘accept and adapt’, as representing, “We all get put in tough situations and have to deal with adversity at some point in our lives, some more profoundly than others, but dealing with difficulty is different from facing it head on and accepting it.”
It is with that acceptance that we can develop an inner power which allows us to move on. To take another challenge, and never lose sight of the inner strength it took us to make that first step, but to keep taking more.
Another lesson, which generates expected attention, is merely to ‘be grateful’. Rather than being about comparison, and joy at deeming yourself better off, Henry assigns a new meaning to the phrase.
He writes, “Being grateful is about looking around, opening our eyes to all the little things that we might take for granted.” It would be almost counterproductive to judge our advancement in life, or our standing in a situation, by comparing what we have to what others don’t.
The final lesson – the premise the whole book is titled after – is ‘the little big things’. These are the moments, however big or small, that we are thankful and grateful to be afforded.
For Henry himself, these things were multiplied by the presence, support and love of his family. He explains, “the tide of their love and all the little big things that flowed from that love, rolled out and has kept on rolling ever since.”
We should all think about these moments a little more. Appreciate them as we experience them, and remain thankful for their happenings once they’re passed, being sure to learn from the lasting impact they may have upon us. Ultimately, we maybe just need to be a bit more introspective at times.
To know the support and love of family, to know your own strength – psychologically and emotionally more than physically – and to rouse the power we all have within us is at times daunting, but it can unleash us.
It can prove that a man struck by such tragic events can make his situation into something so powerful. Henry’s words are enlightening, the work he now produces – in his paintings –is beautiful and his example is inspiring.
We all need to count our blessings for the little big things that allow our world to continue turning. Though the normal we may face in the future may not be the normal of our most recent past, if we remember these small lessons then we’re sure to be able to toil through.