Nothing is so tantalizing and delicious—not to mention rare, these days—as a secret. Think back to the zing of excitement you felt when a friend entrusted you with her latest treasured tidbit: the beginnings of a job search, the first weeks of a pregnancy. Safeguarding your own secret has the same electrifying effect. But when was the last time you did something on your own and kept it entirely to yourself? In The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, Carrie Bloomston shares a vital lesson in self-worth she learned from a long-ago college assignment that challenged her to do precisely that: Do something—anything—and keep it a secret.

What matters is that you're doing the thing for its own sake and only for yourself—not to earn praise or to show off. "You get a feeling of deep, grounded satisfaction from knowing you can do something valuable," Bloomston says. "That moment of creation is so victorious, and it belongs only to you." Social media, always urging us to share, makes secrecy all the more valuable. When we post life events, big and small, online, we invite others to judge them—and us. No one liked it. Maybe that was too woo-woo. Maybe people think I'm weird—or dumb. "But when you're the guardian of your secret, you can hang on to that powerful feeling. The reward is inside you."

Today, do something alone—just for you, by yourself—in the middle of nowhere, in a hidden place or out in the world, with no one else around. You can make art, do a performance or an action, dance or make a site-specific installation. Or you can scribble an unspeakable dream on a piece of paper and tuck it somewhere no one will ever find it. Or you can jot down a note and burn it. Or you can walk a labyrinth. Honor your secret moment, whatever it looks like. Let it percolate. Don't tell your spouse or best friend about it. Don't tell your parents or children about it. Don't tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it or blog about it—ever. Just be alone with it. Feel it. It is yours.


Next Story