I work in Film. I live in Martial Arts. I thrive in Imagination.


Putting Pen to Paper Keeps the Mind Sharp


Why Writing?

All that chatter in one's brain?! Cured for me by writing down my thoughts and forcing my brain to clarify and order them. To pick the words for precision. The order of the words to clarify thinking. Perhaps this effort is a constant Socratic forum for my brain to achieve more and more.

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Brainstorming the How: I Wrote my Own History

October 30, 20233 min read

I remember meeting a friend of mine’s grandfather decades ago. The place was a study of a mansion up in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles. This area is a very exclusive area located in old Los Angeles (which, if you’re a friend of mine from Paris, is a blink of the eye in Parisian time). But growing up middle-class in Los Angeles, the mansions had an intoxicating feel with their backyard swimming pools and their apartments over the garage and spacious driveways.

I met the elderly gentleman at the house, then saw him in the study. He was reading and I asked what he was reading. Let’s call him Ben.

“A Biography of Julius Caesar,” he said. “You know who that it is?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I read his Gallic Wars. In Latin.” He hadn’t expect the Latin reading so he was surprised and invited me to sit down. He was Old School for sure, making his money in the Twenties and Thirties to the point of generational wealth. His children were wealthy. His grandchildren were wealthy. And this would continue. We talked for three hours. His confided that his grandchildren did not have his youthful drive, ambition, insight and perseverance. One of his grandsons had invited me to their house!

Wake Up Call Method

He told me, holding up the book of Julius Caesar, that “history becomes a judgment written by its victors.” With that perspective in mind, he thought that a very informative and useful exercise was to write your own history.

Ben said, “It’s essentially your eulogy. So the key is to imagine a person or a few person’s reading it. Ones you love. Ones you respect. Ones who you want to make bold victories with.”

In essence, the history is to some degree one’s eulogy. That might seem a bit grim - but truthful. Tough truth, but truth. So where does that get us?

Long ago, the man said, “I wrote down my future history. What I wanted to do, to accomplish, to see in the world and more. That’s what drove me to success.” He still had one draft in his files, with scribbles and drawings and more and showed it to me.

Writing Your Own History

Our own individual histories are a lengthy collection of Major Moments

  • Milestones

  • Accomplishments

  • Victories

  • Relationships

In various Goal-Setting Areas:

  • Health

  • Personal Development

  • Relationships

  • Spiritual

  • Family

  • Business/Career

The method in writing your own History is to combine the Major Moments in Goal Setting Areas.

Set Up Your Timeline

You can create your own Timeline in days, months, years, decades. Initially, the best strategy is to start with decades on a single page. So if you are in your twenties or thirties, then you might you might six pages to start writing up your own History full of adventure, excitement, knowledge, service, contribution and whatever else you want to accomplish in your life.

Expect to revise as you move through life. Combine this exercise with Mindmapping to come up with more and better Ideas.

Make It Truly Personal

I was reminded of this conversation many years ago because is stumbled over the eulogy (included down below for your optional reading) I wrote for my father when he passed away in 2001. I’ve included it below and have been thinking how to rework my own sense of urgency and history. The key for me is to blend the reality of my life with the imagination of my goals and dreams. When you can write in this manner, do so completely from the heart so that you are enthused, excited and purposeful. Feel a certain spring in your step and an excitement to get the morning alarm clark.

Read your growing, unique and specific Future History at least once a week.

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Michael Mandaville

Michael is a writer, filmmaker and dedicated World War II historian who studies martial arts, action films and is learning more about VFX every single darn day. Oh and a Scholar Warrior

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