The title does not lie. This is a book about fear. Fear in a thousand different forms from disquietude to dread. The fear of falling. The fear of failing. The fear of dying. The fear of disappointing. Fear of external threat and internal doubt. About crippling social fear and the coercive pressure of satisfying the expectations of others. About fears of impending catastrophe and a benighted future. And, most perniciously, about a fear that targets that which we love and cherish, for it is in appreciating what we have that we become aware of all that we stand to lose.
It is also a memoir, in the form of a thrilling account of an epic skydiving jump for the ages, about leaping out of one’s comfort zone, overcoming one’s own perceived limitations, and grappling with deep-seated anxiety. Which, in the case of the author conquering his own persistent irresolution, led to a record-shattering jump from the stratosphere out of a hot-air balloon.
Employing both wisdom and humility, philosophy and self-deprecating humor, Tomasz Kozłowski uses insight into the human psyche and the foibles of humankind to narrate a tale about making crucial life decisions while navigating the pitfalls of a fragile, but miraculous, existence.
ASTRONAUT ABOUT THE BOOK
It is difficult to believe that in the unassuming figure of Tomasz, such tremendous life potential pools. His youthful dreams were average enough; but the more audacious of them were hiding just beyond a horizon of apparent inaccessibility. Internal strength and a resilient willingness to tackle difficult challenges gave Tomasz the ability to challenge notions of the impossible. With his inexhaustible tenacity, and having acquired a profound and comprehensive self-knowledge, he sought, not without trepidation, to venture beyond that mysterious horizon. He proved it was possible to do so. First, though, he had to overcome himself. And he did. To find out how he did so, and at what cost, read The Story of a Thousand Fears. I know something about it from my own experiences.
Mirosław HERMASZEWSKI (the only Polish astronaut)
Tomasz Kozłowski is a motivational speaker, coach, and psychologist. He specializes in critical intervention, team diagnosis, and leadership. For many years he worked as a mountain rescuer. He is a skydiver with more than 1,500 jumps to his name. In December 2014, he and two other skydivers jumped from the stratosphere out of a hot-air balloon, breaking multiple European skydiving records in the process.
In June 2017, he set a Polish record by completing fifty jumps in one day. Dedicating each jump to an individual suffering physical hardship, he raised more than $50,000 in charitable donations. He was later awarded the Charity Hero prize.