Inbox Terrors: How to Stop Being Scared of Email

Right now, I’m carrying around a considerable amount of anxiety because of email.

Which is ridiculous.

You see, I’m waiting for three emails of relative importance. One is feedback on an article I wrote. Another is about guesting on a reputable podcast (not mine). And the third is about possibly meeting up to play music with some people I’ve never met before.


Of course, being scared of email is completely irrational, but the fear is real nonetheless. It’s a fear of the unknown. I have no idea and even less control over what the other person might say.

“This is literally the worst thing you’ve ever written.”

“You’re way too dumb to be on this podcast.”

“You suck at playing bass, even though I’ve never heard or seen you play, but I’m sure that’s what I’ll say once I do. How’s tomorrow at 8?”

The likelihood of any of these responses actually happening is slim to none.


No, they won’t.

But suppose they did. What would happen?


I’m sitting here at my desk, as I do, reading and/or writing and/or perusing the interwebs, when suddenly my email goes ding! [Seriously, it just did. Holy crap.]

I open my email, click the unread message, and BOOM — it literally leaps off the screen and starts screaming at me like I’m the worst person in the world.

Or so it seems.

But when I’m done reading it, what has actually happened?


I’m still sitting here at my desk. The sun is still shining. Everything is as it was moments before.

I’m not dead.

If an alien were to look down from space into my house and see me sitting here, there would be no discernible difference between what it saw before the email and what it saw after the email.

Email can’t hurt you. People can’t eat you.

And if the email does contain bad news, well, I’ll survive. I’ll work through it. What I won’t do is let it paralyze or defeat me. The worst part about reading a scary email is reading it; it’s probably not as bad as you thought, and if it is, it only gets better from there.

So be brave. Don’t fear the ding!

Because there are far more important things to be scared of than email.

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