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!

I Will Stand in 2018

Yo 2017 - What just happened?

Everyone is currently posting about how 2017 was incredible or a tough year and how 2018 is going to be different. There is a sense of hope in the statements from people. I love that people are hopeful. I have not rushed into making any proclamations for the new year for two reasons. 

The first reason is that I my new year starts on my birthday, March 22, which helps make my resolutions personal and less hyped.

The second reason is that I have yet to fully process 2017.

2017 was a unique year in my life. One that I will never forget. It was unforgettable for some high points and some of my lowest points of life. 2017 was a dogfight. I went head to head with myself. I stretch myself to boundaries I could not have imagined just one year ago. I fought for my life in 2017.

Here is a mini calendar of the year:

I started 2017 with depression. I was lost in my identity and my feelings. I was paralyzed.

I got help. I went through counseling and battled depression to the point where I was happy and confident. I continued to build positive thought structures in my life.

The summer was too much fun. After finishing my first season with Ballet Austin, I was able to teach and dance on the off season while growing as a person. I bought a car and things looked fantastic.

My second season with Ballet Austin started and things went down hill. I crashed my car, I felt uninspired, I got sick a few times, I injured my back and was taken out of Nutcracker. I crawled my way to the end of 2017.

Towards the end of 2017, I felt like I was lost everything. It was extremely hard to face the next day because I was scared. I was scared that something worse would happen. Life was spiriling down. I felt like I was falling and I could not catch myself. 

but i am here

i am right here.

here to write.

here to live.

here to keep moving forward. 

I want to be positive about 2018 because 2017 has easily been the hardest year of my life, but I am scared. There are a ton of unknowns and I feel out of control. I have been running away from mysled. I have tried to escape the the reality of the present moment. 

But this is my stand to change that.

I do not have any huge plans for 2018 except that in 2018, I am deciding to stand.

I am deciding to standup for myself.

I am deciding to stand even when I want to curl in a ball and run away from everyone and everything.

I am deciding to stand- because when I stand, I can be open about my life. The biggest higlight of my year was not buying a car or amassing any physical thing- it was my writing. I wrote about depression and this website broke. I was able to have real conversations with real humans. Words brought impact. that was incredible in my vantage point. I want to stand to reach more people with an open heart.

I do not have all the answereds. I am just here to tell you about my process in how i live. I am not a finished product. My writing is not a finished product. It is my thought process. This writing is my therapy. 

Thanks for hearing me be real. I do not hold back and I plan to not hold back in 2018 because I will be standing.

Worse things could happen in 2018 but I promised myself that I will stand. As I start 2018, I am depressed and shaken. I am beat up. I am hurting. I am scared. 

But I will stand one day at a time. 

Peace and love.

Me holding onto nothing from 2017!

Me holding onto nothing from 2017!

Adulting is Hard

Adulting- this is my term I use when I talk to my dad about essential life matters usually dealing with laws, rights, and money. 

Recently, adulting has been tough for me. This past October has been a rough month. I have never been a person to fake what I am going through in life. I try to be transparent to those around me. I pride myself on being open.

So here goes me being open about my life.

Over this past month or so, I have had fleas in my apartment, a sub-par love life, feelings of loneliness, a lack of creativity, and my car stopped working. Oh and yesterday, I got in a terrible car accident. 

When someone asks me how life is going, I have been saying alright and listing the above. It shocks some people which makes me laugh because this is life. This is real life. No one has a perfect life. No one has a stable life. There is something always going on, and if you do not agree, I would argue that you are pushing away realities of your life. Life can be great for sure, I am not trying to be negative, but I also do not want to be a phony when I answer that question- how are you doing? I think people are shocked by a real answer because we are so used to hearing the fake response, "I'm good." I think what is more tragic is that as an audience, we accept that answer as opposed to searching deeper. We have become shallow in our responses and our listening. I am a culprit of this way all the time. I can give superficial answers or ask shallow questions, sometimes no questions at all.

Matthew Gattozzi Car Accident

I ramble to get to this- I had a terrible car accident yesterday that has me shaken up. Yesterday morning, I was driving east while the sun was coming up. The sun was in my eyes, and I could not see. I was trying to see what color the street light was. I was blinded by the glare of everything and ran over a guy stopped on a motorcycle. The motorcycle went entirely under my car and out my back. I stopped my car thinking I just killed someone. Luckily, there happened to be off-duty EMTs that saw the accident and got to the guy on the motorcycle. I think he rolled off, so he was not under my car. He was shaken up by the hit but ended up being okay. I was totally fine physically, but definitely not mentally.

Someone almost died.

I almost killed someone.

In one moment, my career, my life, and everything else that I have worked so hard for could have been gone. 

We all have moments in our lives that jolt us. That put things in perspective. That changes us to the core.

Life is short.

Life is so freaking short.

At that moment I realized that I am not living the life that I want to live. For over the past month, I have been having a self-pity party. This self-pity party has created a lot of anxiety, it has paralyzed me, and I have lost me. 

I am not living my fullest life. 

Things happen. Stuff happens all the time as I said before. People get fleas all the time. People's cars break all the time. People's love lives are usually less fortunate than more successful. 

What is important, is not what cards we are dealt with but how we play them. 

I have complained a lot recently. Some would argue that I have good reason to do so with all the random, unfortunate things happening over this past month. By complaining, I have lost myself from living in the presence of the now. 

When I got out of my car, nothing mattered. All the thousands of hours of training did not matter. All the money I saved to buy that car, did not matter. Nothing. Mattered. Except. My life and that guy's life. 

Pure survival.


Oh so sweet, yet can be gone in a second.

For me, I am given a second chance.

I cannot put into words how lucky I am to not have to go to jail or live on a conscience that I killed another person. I do not know why I am given a chance to live free. I do not understand why I am not hurt and protected. 

As I sat in my room for hours replaying this moment in my mind, I saw that this moment should never be taken for granted. I am determined to live a life that is full, risk-taking, grateful, and genuine. I want to go to sleep every night proud of myself and what I have done that day. I get to dance. I get to teach. I get to continue to live my dreams. I have been given another chance to continue to live this life to the full.

So yeah, adulting is hard.


I am going to take this life that I have been given and run.


Never stop.

Never look back.

Just run.

And be grateful.

To those that have reached out to me. I am forever grateful. I had people bringing me food, groceries, and even DUNKIN FREAKING DONUTS. Dunkin hardly exists down in Texas. People have called and texted me and prayed for me. I have been shown that I have a community around me that is full of love and that will continue to help me run in this life. 

Now it is time for me to go and run this race called life.




i am not inspired

i have yet to write a post in one whole month.

but here it is.

i am not inspired.

maybe you could tell from the lack of capitalization in my writing.

the ballet season has been off to a quick start. i have already performed romeo and juliet which i did enjoy. the crowd loved the show, and i enjoyed the process of getting the ballet together. it was a fantastic way to start the season. 

currently, i am getting ready for a children's ballet called not afraid of the dark. i am having fun in the rehearsals. i am working hard in my ballet classes and going to the gym. i feel very healthy and great about my dancing.

i don't feel bad about my career; i just feel stuck.

i am not feeling depressed but just not inspired. my creative juices are little. this summer i was all over the place making videos, dancing, and dreaming. right now i feel like i am just here. i am giving my best and not giving up at ballet, but outside the studio, i just feel... bluh.


i do not know if that's a word, but that is how i feel. the idea of if i will get promoted or not next season has been racking my brain which has been tough. i have felt a little lonely. i have not been my same creative self. my purpose in life is to create, and when i do not create, then i feel purposeless. therein lies the problem, i am not inspired.

that happens.

not everything we do will be an awe-inspiring, spiritual moment. sometimes work will be work (rule 122). i am not surprised by that, i am just looking to do something that will jumpstart me into feeling inspired.

any suggestions?

let me know.

maybe writing this post is the first step to getting out of this creative slump since it has been a month. this is matthew gattozzi just throwing words on a paper. thanks for reading. 

Second Year in Austin

What a whirlwind of a few weeks it has been.


A Hurricane hit Texas.

In the midst of it all, I officially started my second season at Ballet Austin on August 21, 2017, as a member of the second company. I am thrilled to be back for another season. On top of performing, I will be teaching at Tarrytown Dance, and I am excited to be pushed in many areas as an artist.

On August 29, 2016, I moved to Austin ready to finally live my dreams.

Today marks my one year anniversary in this amazing city of Austin.

What a year it has been! I had no idea what kind of adventure I would embark on when I first moved to Austin. I did not know anyone. 

This year has been filled with incredible people, experiences, performances, and victories. This year has also been filled with hurt, disappointment, depression, and loneliness. That is the reality of life. We have the ups and the downs. I have grown so much in just 365 days. I am a completely changed man compared to the kid who moved to Austin. I have accomplished so much this past year.

I am proud of me.

I came in with a lot of baggage and hurt, and now standing before you, is a guy who has hope in the future, owns a car, and is currently in the most exciting year of his professional career. BIG things have happened, and BIG things will happen.

None of this would be here if it were not for you.

Yes- YOU!

I would not be here if it were not for the many folks who hit me up when I was going through depression.

I would not be here if it were not for those who encouraged me to keep dancing when dancing got tough.

I would not be here if it were not for those who were there for me as I took risks and went out of my comfort zone.

I would not be here if it were not for you all doing big things in your life and inspiring me and giving me hope in my own life.

This second year will be an outstanding year full of ambition. I have one year left as an apprentice at Ballet Austin and either I get hired into the main company, or I have to perform somewhere else. On top of that, I am taking more responsibility as a teacher that could lead to new places in my career.

Am I nervous?

Yeah. I would be lying if I said I was not.

Am I ready?


I know that I am ready because this past year in Austin has been one of the most formative years ever and has prepared me for the experiences to come. 

Career aside, I want to enjoy me. I want to enjoy making videos and photos. I want to enjoy performing. I want to enjoy teaching. I learned that these opportunities are incredibly unique that I do not want to miss out on my chance because I am busy stressing out. No stress- just fun.

Cheers to another year in Austin.