The Hero's Handbook

In 2011, I wrote a post called Define Your Rules.

In it, I referenced Nate Green's The Hero Handbook, which discussed how every man worth his salt should have a list of rules by which he lives.

For no good reason, I decided to review my own personal list of rules that I wrote in 2011 and see how much I have (or have not) changed over the past four years.

Enjoy ...

Rule #1: Use the talents that I was given to help improve the lives of others.

I am very proud to say that this rule has not changed for me.

Aside from my eating habits, everything I do is done in the spirit of helping others.

Coaching football ...

Training athletes ...

Making people more effective at work (at my real job) ...

Even writing this blog ...

It is all done to help others.

Rule #2: Never miss the opportunity to tell someone they have done a great job.

Me praising the boys after a 3 and out ...

Like Rule #1, this one has not changed for me.

I am starting to think I am the same boring guy I was in 2011.

Rule #3: Keep myself as healthy as possible with training, diet and rest.

This rule hasn't changed for me either.

Man ... I am boring.

In all seriousness, I definitely can add a few things to this list.

1. Recovery - I either stretch, foam roll or use a lacrosse ball every day.

The Godfather ...

2. Breathing - Oxygen is your number one fuel source. Why deprive yourself of it with improper breathing techniques?

3. Thermogenesis - I take cold showers and wear an ice vest every day. 

(Who is boring now?)

Bane - before he took Venom

Rule #4: Work on at least one thing every day to make myself better than the day before.

I definitely still do this.

Some would argue that my cheat day makes me a horrible human being the next day.

But I would argue that it ramps up my metabolism and makes me have no interest in donuts for a while.

(Although, I must admit, this picture is playing games with my feeble mind.)

Rule #5: Never let anyone work harder than me at anything, ever.

Now this is one that has actually changed and in a very good way.

While I continue to work extremely hard, I only do it at things that I enjoy.

I picked up this life changing concept from The Four Hour Work Week.

As they always say, "Bill Gates doesn't mow his own lawn".

Why waste energy trying to be the best at painting my house, when I can hire someone to do it way better and in half the time?

While they are painting the house, I can be devoting my time to writing a blog, creating a new training program, or making my dog a savage.

(As an FYI, the growling in this video is real. This pup is fierce.)

Rule #6: Tell the people that you love, that you love them.

This is one I still do and one that I believe is the most important.

As I profoundly wrote in 2011 ...

"I know it's corny, but I know more than a few guys who wished they had told their mom, their wife, or even their dad that they loved them while they still had the chance." - Me (That's right. I quoted myself.)

Some New Rules: These rules were not included in the 2011 list.

Rule #7: Never Live Someone Else's Dream

You need to love what you do.

If you don't, you will quit when times get hard ... and they will get hard.

Don't take a play a sport for mommy and daddy.

Don't take a job you hate just to get a promotion.

Follow your passion and live your own dream.

No one is a better man for being miserable and making an extra $10,000 a year at a job they don't like.

Rule #8: Surround Myself With People That Will Make Me Better

You are the average of the 5 people you spend your most time with.

Think about that ...

Do your closest friends make you better or worse?

Do they call you out if you order a water instead of a beer?

Do they abuse you for ordering a grilled chicken salad?

Do they call you a fool when you tell them your goals?

If so, you need new friends.

Rule #9: Use the Pareto Principle on Everything

This is a hard pill for most people to swallow ... but ... almost everything you do doesn't matter.

In fact, less than 20% of what you do actually produces any real results.

At least once a month I perform a Pareto Analysis on everything in my life.

What 20% of the things give me 80% of my happiness?

What 20% of the people waste 80% of my time?'

What 20% of my lifts give me 80% of my gains?

I then use the results to eliminate the unimportant so I can focus on what matters.

Rule #10: Never Let Another Man Tell You What You Can't Do

"What is and what ought to be are very different things. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell the difference when What Is is what gave you power." 
                                                                             - Tyrion Lannister

My entire life people have tried to tell me what I couldn't do. 

In some instances it was because they saw me as a threat. In other instances, it was because they tried to place their own limitations on me.

Regardless, I never let someone else tell me what I couldn't do.

In fact, them telling me I couldn't do something only fed my motivation.

  • "You can't walk on at Columbia" - did it.
  • "You can't be an engineer and play football at Columbia" - did it.
  • "You can't graduate from 2 colleges in 5 years" - did it.
  • "You can't coach football and work a full-time job" - did it.
  • "You can't make the most boring 6 minute video in YouTube History" - did it.

What are your rules?

In 2011, I posed this same question on the blog.

Not one person answered via the internet, but many responded over email.

I would ask again that those of you that have life rules post them below.

I know we can all learn from each other.


Michael Morano said...

Coach I would have put money on you having a Siberian husky.

Joe Trunzo said...

If you quit once, you'll quit again.

Michael Ievolo said...

Everyone makes mistakes, learn from your mistakes and use the lessons learned to be a better example for others.

Blanco said...

Talk to people like people never talk down to someone thinking they're "below" you.

George Mahoney said...


It took me 30 years to overcome a childhood fear of dogs. This 8lbs monster is not making it any easier.

George Mahoney said...


Very similar words were once said to the great Jerry Rice ... and we all know how he turned out.

George Mahoney said...


I 100% agree with your comments. You have to view mistakes as an opportunity for growth. If you are not willing to make mistakes, you will never move beyond where you are right now.

You will also never be able to share those experiences with others you are coaching, mentoring or educating.

George Mahoney said...


I will never forget your observation of how much worse it is to say "Watch Out" versus "Excuse Me".

"Watch Out" is the ultimate "I am more important than you" statement (unless someone sees a spear coming at your head).

It doesn't matter what your title is or how much money you make or how much you bench, you need to treat every person you meet as a human being.

Joe Sarno said...

Always be open to new ways of bettering yourself.