The “Dirt” No One Talks About: How Social Media Is Making A Mockery Of Your Personal Growth

12 mins read

Fyre Festival, a scammy island music festival that never happened is the epitome of what is taking place in today’s personal development narrative.  If you don’t know about Fyre Festival you should catch the full documentary on Netflix or Hulu this weekend and take notes. It begins and ends with marketing but in between the marketing ploy, it begins and ends with the idea of success. In between the idea of success, it begins and ends with a faulty character.


I’ve taken some time to really understand who I am and the quality I want to produce, create and provide which had me at such a standstill that I overlooked what I was becoming. If you know anything about me and my situation then you know I stand tall for personal growth. I encourage it and I believe in it. I believe everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to the time you take to invest in yourself. But what if the whole entire story isn’t given? What if pieces of the puzzle is left out intentionally and what if no one tells you about the DIRT.

A year ago, I was super excited to leave my 9-5 job to embark on this entrepreneur thing and with it was love, energy and pure determination. A year later, I sit here writing a post about the DIRT because it is where I am right now. There are powerful lessons that I would like to share with you so you can take with it and learn as well.

Social media doesn’t do a good job at giving you a true understanding of growth and what it’s going to take to get there, instead we settle for fake stories and bad acting. On social media you have two options –  you’re either there or you’re not. You’re successful or you’re not. You’re winning or you’re losing. You’re shining or you’re dull. Very black and white – very contrasting. It if you don’t slow it down, control it, you become a part of the rat race online.

What is Personal Growth? 

Personal growth build and develops strong character not personality. Your personality ethics, such as your positive attitude, behaviors, communication techniques, how well you influence others, skills and other sorts of add-ons are not requirements to grow. Anyone can learn new techniques and behaviors that steer an outcome. What truly takes work is developing a strong character. This is when you know you’re in the DIRT. How? Because it requires brutal honesty, humility and stepping outside of your EGO to accomplish. The braggadocio techniques that everyone is displaying makes them look weak – strong character and the ability to communicate within a space of neutrality, poise and peace is HARD work.

I’ve been hit hard with this for the last year – because I thought only production mattered, the sooner the better, the new book, the new course, the hopping around, that being busy was the showmanship of a successful entrepreneur. Well, I built my company on the legs of pure hustle for 3 years but here’s the catch 22. I was burnt out and I hadn’t grown, at least not my character. I’d just grown my personality ethics – the topical, illusion of personal development.

Dead Authors

I love Benjamin Franklin. I truly respect anyone that is deeply rooted in molding themselves to be an outstanding individual both socially, personally and spiritually. In his autobiography, Benjamin wrote about temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, modertation, cleanliness, tranquility, humility, and living with meaning.  There is a stark difference from then til now… when we hear so much of – “hustle, say yes, blow up, positivity, power, position and motivation”

What happened to character? What happened to self-improvement? When did it become stupid sayings?

Steven Covey  wrote about this exact thing in the beginning of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steven did his research: He focused his studies on self-help that was written about in books, articles and in essays that were published 150 years ago. He noted that something strange happened in the last 50 years. The strange thing was thought to be band-aids that gave you psychedelics and pump-you-up motivation that fed off human desire to not look within for change but instead look to others.

William George Jordan published The Kingship Of Self-Control, Individual Problems And Possibilities in 1899. In that short but very sweet book he noted that man’s greatest enemy is, himself and to find any level of success one would have to understand and realize his own possibilities. In the book, he also speaks about character building ideas and concepts that mirrors if not better defines that of Benjamin Franklin’s character development.

But that’s neither here nor there. The internet is moving at lightning speeds and I wonder how many more will be infected with the flowery positive imagery of it all. The laptop lifestyle matched with the perfect business producing millions. The seminar and networking life of young entrepreneurs. The jet-life. I love it.. I respect it but that’s a infinitesimal sample of the entire scope of life and what it takes to run a real business.

The Forbes 400 List

I want to make it clear that I don’t look at my instagram feed for motivation .. I look at the Inc 500 or the Forbes 400 list and every time I look at it, I try to find the outlier. The company or person that just doesn’t belong. The one who had DIRT first. Because there are a bunch on the list that straight up inherited what they have. That’s great but it won’t move me. Benjamin Franklin moves me.

But just so you know – show me anyone on the Forbes 400 List that is marketing to you right now on social media. I’ll wait. Some are in the news or creating the news but that’s a whole other topic. What this teaches me are lessons that I can’t get from your course.

  1. It’s going to take time to build something great. 5-10 years.
  2. There will be DIRT, meaning there will be hard living, hard choices, and struggles that provide opportunities for real character development.
  3. Character development comes before Personality development and is the foundation for success
  4. Get around people with strong character and got some PEP to them (Poise, efficiency and peace)
  5. Take your fucking time.

You Don’t Have To Rush Your Greatness

I was low-key getting depressed when I found that nothing was working and I was stuck. My motivation levels had tapered off and I wasn’t working on my business as much as I would like to. I used my time to build other people’s business and used my resources to fund the marketing gurus.

I bounced around trying to find something that works and in the end I was left winded and emotionally fucked up.

Then something happened and it all made sense to me. I was at a crossroads in my life and I could see what the two roads led to clearly. One was the chase and the other was the attraction. Both were successful but one had many bumps, many problems and much more failures that necessary which are only lessons.

You may be looking down those two roads as well. Wondering what is happening and what is the meaning of it all. Well, I am happy you are here. Social media is a tool and you can either control it or have it control you. You can either use it or have it use you.  If you can’t enjoy who you are or where you are then you’re not really fooling anyone but yourself. If you’re not happy right now then it’s probably because you need to look within and be brutally honest about what you are producing in the world.

You plant bad seeds you don’t get the harvest.

If you really want to be an entrepreneur, like just about everyone now a days understand the basics of who you are first. Your strengths and weaknesses.  Add character then work on your skills. Stop living vicariously through other people who a) don’t know you b) don’t care about you or c) are only here to sell you on something they never bought themselves.

I care about personal growth and I care about you leaving behind something great in this world, whether it be within your family unit, in your community, nationally or internationally. We all make a difference on different levels. You need not follow the same formulas as everyone in life. Be yourself.


Don’t let anyone tell you different. Congratulate yourself for having the opportunity to get dirty because when you dust yourself off, clean yourself up and look in the mirror – you’re going to jump the fuck up with joy!

I told my mentor a bunch of shit that was being created in my life and all he said was congrats. I was like what the hell is he crazy? But, I get it. So now I tell you. Congrats. There are times like this… but not a time like this.

Remain uncomfortable,

Stacy A. Cross

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