We Are Humans First

There is a lot of hate in the world.

I am not going to say that I know all the answers on how to fix the brokenness, but I must respond to the bombings in Austin. 

A few weeks ago, there were some bombs placed in the mail that killed 2 and injured one. A few days ago, I was at a South by Southwest event that was canceled due to bomb threats. Unfortunately, yesterday, another bomb went off and hurt two people. I wish I could say this is new for me but I experienced the Boston Marathon Bombing.


I see this happen and I cannot come to grips with one word- Why?

Bombings, violence, and abuse happen everywhere at all moments of the day. There are many factors in these Austin bombings. I cannot speak on the person who has done this because no one knows. We do not even know if all the attacks are connected or separate. In pursuing figuring out the why to this madness, I found myself falling on social constructs and how we as people separate each other.

Kids are not born with prejudices.

Kids observe, and they are nurtured. I feel like a lot of my adult life has been realizing the different prejudices and then pursuing breaking down those prejudices.

The one thing everyone in this world has in common is that we are all humans. 

I believe that that fact alone can mend indifferences. I am not perfect, and will hurt people but being human- that is beautiful. I think it is interesting that religions, which are supposed to be "unifying" end up being a catalyst to war. But Jesus did not preach for war. He preached empathy and to transcend social constructs, social rules, and social traditions. Jesus saw the human, not the color, gender, socioeconomic class, or religion. We have more in common with one another than we do differences. But what is crazy, is that we scrutinize those differences. If you have taken a history class or two, you would learn that most hate in the world stems from these differences. 

Loving others is hard.

To stay safe, people build up walls to separate themselves from having to deal with another person who is "different." People do not want to get uncomfortable to understand the differences which in turn creates more walls between humans. 

Many people in the history of the world have gone out to pursue loving humans. Jesus was one of many, and he displayed a level of empathy when he was with the Samaritan woman at the well. Samaritans were DISPIZED by Jews and also, a man should not be in contact with a woman like Jesus was at that time in history. Jesus did not see a Samaritan woman- he saw a human who needed to be loved. 

We are all humans that need to be loved. My goal is to pursue seeing humans as humans alone and to love each human equally. I am not the one that can stop bombings. I am not going to war or becoming a detective. But my battle is in my everyday life, and that is where I will fight. I hope that by loving those around me, people will be inspired to love those around them. 

I speak from a weakness- I speak from messing up. I have many prejudices that I am working on breaking! Join me! The only way we can beat hate is by love. 

Love wins always. 

Protecting Human Connection

People are influential on their own.

People collaborating is more powerful and beautiful.

This past weekend, I have been attending South by Southwest, and my mind is thoroughly blown. I have done more virtual reality in three days than I have in the last 22 years of my life. I have never seen machines do specific actions. I have never seen people design products in the way they have done. 

This innovation and advancement have come from people working with other people. 

As I have gone to classes, I have met people and been able to learn what they do for their brands and companies. I can collaborate and work with other companies from this conference. 


A bunch of people showed up in Austin to just learn and teach. I have seen the power of networking and the connection between other humans. There is so much that I did not know was possible for me in my life. People have believed in me and have given hope in my future. This support is wonderful. I am very grateful for this opportunity to learn but also to see humans work together to create a better future.

Matthew Gattozzi with Instagrammer Jesse Driftwood

The most significant thing I see is the need to protect the human connection. Technology is moving and improving our lives, but we cannot lose our need for other humans or else, innovation will die. I talked last week about how humanity and technology intersect. In the same vein, I have been convinced this past week about human relationships and the importance of them. Being self-aware of our relationships and networks will be important in the future as technology grows. 

How I steward myself in my friendships with others has become evident in the last week- the good and the bad. Being intentional with others is essential. I am not good with confrontation, and I tend to be a people pleaser. Human connection that creates innovation does not come from being fake with people. It comes from raw conversations and understanding your limits or boundaries in those relationships. Finding balance with people is needed now and in the future. I have been thinking and writing about this a lot in the last few weeks because I have seen how I have messed up more than succeeded.

I will leave you with a story. A month ago, I was on Instagram, and I saw this girl shredding on the guitar. I commented on the video which led to a conversation about performing at South by Southwest. Today, I ended up meeting this band, Roses and Cigarettes, in person at a random guy's (A new friend) apartment in downtown and filmed a video for them. We had a fantastic conversation and real connection about art and reaching for dreams. The internet was the catalyst, but it was human beings seeking a real relationship to collaborate with one another that created this incredible experience. On the way back to my car, I stumbled upon one of my favorite Instagrammers on the street- Jesse Driftwood. This guy was genuine and willing to talk for like ten minutes on the sidewalk. To protect human connection, we must strive to seek it!

Matthew Gattozzi with Roses And Cigarettes Band in Austin for South by Southwest

Humanity Will Live Beyond Technology

I am excited for the next week and a half here in Austin because South By Southwest is happening. South By Southwest is a music, film, tech, gaming, and education/interaction festival and conference. The brand new ideas and concepts in technology are usually revealed within talks and workshops that are happening. People from around the world come to find out what the future holds. 

Technology can scare people.

Any change can scare people.

People are afraid that with more technology, we will become less in tune with ourselves as humans because we are stuck in virtual reality or consumed by social media. This outcome is possible. We could all just let technology take over our lives and lose our humanity. 

But I do not think this outcome will happen.

What makes us human is the fact that we question the meaning of life. That journey and curiosity define humanity. Maybe some people, unfortunately, will run away from themselves and try to be consumed by new technology. People have been running away from their problems or wounds forever- not because virtual reality is being created or blockchain technology is becoming more relevant. The new technology allows people to run away differently, but the impetus of why people are running away is no different regardless of technology or time. 

Technology is not what will heal our wounds. I believe that technology can help heal our wounds by giving us resources to meditate or to find counselors to help us. Technology can connect us to those that can help us. I mean heck- you are reading this on the internet. Conversely, technology can be abused, just like any good thing, to hurt ourselves and others.

To save humanity, we need to continue to have conversations like this, to make sure we keep ourselves, regardless of the setting. Each person needs to put principals in their life that will continue to help them grow and strengthen their being. I feel like I have gone away from those principals lately and I can see how I have lost myself. I have been hard on myself which in turn, has created self-hurt and stress.

As I talked about last week- I have built walls around my heart. Since being injured and hurting my back, I have not honestly dealt with my emotional pain. I have not been honest with myself.

I see that technology can come and go- settings change like a new city or a new job but NONE of that- I genuinely mean- NONE of that will change your hurt inside you.

We want to live in a virtual reality of our lives at times so we can choose only the right things and not focus on the bad. In time though, we will have to wake up to ourselves. I have hope that humanity will continue to be curious even with technology changing. I also have faith that this conversation is the beginning of much more self-reflection about humankind within technology. 

What are your thoughts about the future of humanity in an ever-changing world with technology multiplying? I would love to hear from you, so comment below on what you believe or see!

I Have Built Walls Around Me

Last week, I was answering the question, can you teach hard work? I concluded that teaching hard work comes from being an example. Who I am as a person, affects those around me. I can change people physically, emotionally, and even spiritually by my actions. I pray and hope that I am making positive impacts, but I also recognize that I am at fault for adverse effects. 

This past weekend was a pretty average weekend except for the fact that I talked to the police on two separate occasions. I saw a man abusing a woman and had to follow this couple while calling the police. I also saw a drunk driver crash his car on the highway and I stopped over to make sure people were safe. I am grateful for the police who came to the rescue in both of those situations.

As I walked away, it was easy for me to judge.

It was sad to see decisions being made that had real physical punishments for those two men.

But what about me?

What choices have I made that have hurt me or others on an emotional and spiritual level? Do I have empathy for those around me that could be affected by my harmful actions? 

To become that excellent example for those around me, I need self-awareness. I need to question the intentions of my actions and see the cause and effects. I am not talking about mapping out my life and what career I will do, each second of the day. I am talking about the actual understanding of how I am feeling and why I want to act in that manner. 

To be honest, I feel like I have lost trying to be self-aware. Recently, I have tried to get lost in my work and give myself an excuse of why I do not have to journal or meditate. I have allowed these walls to build up around my heart. That is SCARY to me. Although I do not think these walls in my heart have resulted in any physical harm- they most easily could manifest in a damaging situation. I saw that first hand this weekend. I want to be a man who can be an advocate of self-awareness so that maybe- just maybe- we can minimize the hurt in this world together.

That starts with me.

Self-awareness does not start from judging others. It begins with seeing myself in other people's shoes.

It begins with this post and recognizing how my walls have been up. This post is my first hack at breaking those walls in my heart.

As I continue to break my walls down and diving into my own life, I want to know how you are self-aware? Do you journal or meditate? What systems have you set up in your life to keep from those emotional barriers growing?

I want to hear from you! How are you self-aware? Let me know on my socials and follow along on my journey!

Can You Teach Hard Work?

Can you teach hard work?

I posted this question on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a few weeks ago. I have been thinking a lot about this question in my life, primarily as a teacher of dance. I had some great discussions with you, and I think I came to some conclusions. If, after reading my findings, you agree or disagree, I would love to hear from you.

Hard work can be defined as putting oneself 100% into the task at hand. So really, the question is, can you teach someone to go 100% at any responsibility?


That is the short answer.

The long answer is this:

To teach means to show or explain how to do something. That something would equal a skill. That could be taking photos or how to tweet. Those are skills that can be taught. To be able to teach hard work would make hard work a skill. To work hard is not a skill but an attribute. Hard work is not specific and looks different within different scenarios. Skills are specific- either you can do it or not. Characteristics like hard work are not specific, they transcend situations, and manifest differently in the context of each person.

No one taught me to work hard during ballet class- I was INSPIRED to work hard in ballet class.

Let me say that again.

I was INSPIRED to work hard.

People showed me hard work. People showed me what it would take to become a professional dancer. People showed me what it takes to love another person. Through their examples, I was inspired to work on different areas in my life.

 Photo by Lindsay Thomas

Photo by Lindsay Thomas

As beautiful as that sounds, that brings a big responsibility on me. I want people around me to work hard and achieve their dreams, but that starts with ME. What example am I showing? Do I inspire people to want to work at their craft not because I am some icon, but because I put in the time and effort? I would hope that my example creates an environment that wants to work towards growth and greatness. If my model doesn’t, maybe me writing this post shows my commitment and awareness that I want to be the best example that I can be for the people around me.

Since starting teaching dance for a little over a year ago, I have noticed that the kids come into contact with so many influences. Parents, school, friends, and me (the dance teacher). I am not the sole proprietor of their growth as an adolescence but I play a part, and that is enough for me to be aware. I feel honored that I get to help bring up the next generation of humans that walk this Earth. We all have this responsibility- to build one another up. How do you build up those around yourself? Do you inspire people to want to work?

The answer to the question, can you teach hard work, is higher than a yes or no. It indeed begs a self-reflection question, do I inspire those around me to want to grow because I, myself, am seeking growth? You do not need a million followers on Instagram to influence people. We all have communities around us- inspire growth organically, and it will eventually affect the masses. Don’t think about how many people you can touch, but the quality in which you can reach those around you.

I am trying to rebrand myself, my content, and my website because I am now conscious of being aware of my example. Part of my case stems from what I post and what I share. I will never stop trying to be silly and adventurous, but I also want to display more of my process in my creation because this will demonstrate how much work I put in to get my results in my life. The process is where the work is done in any production. By showing the process, hopefully, I can inspire a desire to work on your dreams. No book can teach you hard work- you must be motivated to want that goal for yourself.

Moving forward from today, I will be posting more about me and my process in everyday life. I have been open about my depression and different hardships over the past 4 years. I have seen the power in being open and I hope to reach more people to share my life. I will post more about my writing process, videos on what I am up to during the week, posts and videos about my health especially since I have an injured back, and I will have two podcasts out. One podcast will be a short daily audio journal about how I am growing my website and socials and the other podcast will be about how I am learning to become a better teacher. Lastly, I am writing a book that is abstract but speaks to the soul and humanity that I think everyone will enjoy. 

A LOT is coming from me and I am very excited. I feel very grateful for this life that I am living and I want to continue to share everything that I am learning. Follow along with me- it would mean the world to me. Thank you for your support. If I did not have the support that I do, I would not still be writing and pursuing this life. You guys give me energy and hope when I want to give up. 

Peace and Love!

I want to hear from you! Follow along my journey!