04/24/2014 09:52 pm ET Updated May 08, 2014

If You Had To Write Down Your Most Mortifying Thought, What Would It Be?

In one of the writing classes she teaches, author Dani Shapiro asked her students to write down their most mortifying thought. She promised the students no one but them would ever see the paper.

And, as she explained at Thrive, The Huffington Post's second Third Metric conference on redefining success beyond the two metrics of money and power, not a single student hesitated. "By the time they were finished, they felt unburdened," she said.

"Whatever you wrote right there has something profound to teach you," she told her students. But what would have happened if someone else read that mortifying thought? "You would have seen a room full of nodding heads, tears streaming down people's cheeks. ... If there is anything I have learned, it's that deep inside, while beautifully different, we are also all the same."

Watch the clip above for more from Shapiro's writing experiment.