So, before starting this post, I popped into my favorite business network to answer messages and follow-up a few things. Once done I noticed two things on my screen.
The first was that I have passed a personal milestone. Celebrate! Every achievement is worthy of celebration, it adds fire to motivation. I also offer my thanks to all the wonderful people who have “Liked” or commented on my posts here and on various social media platforms; for that I am very grateful and some of your comments have taught me much and serve as frequent reminders that there are amazing people out there.
The second thing I noticed was the top comment in the chat window;
“NnurseBecca 5 minutes ago
@VAIOCI Good ideas, live chat brain map sounds fun lol”
This post has nothing to do with live chat, but it does have a huge relationship with “Brain Maps” and even better, it gave me a title I had been pondering over for some hours.
Mind Maps ®
Did you notice the little symbol ®? It means that Mind Maps is a registered trademark of the Buzan organisation.
“A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others”. (Wiki)
Well, I’m not about to get into a legal battle with Buzan but I will raise a point. I was first introduced to Mind Maps ® during an adult education course at Surrey university (UK) well before Tony Buzan’s “How To Mind Map®” book was published in 2002. Sixteen years earlier to be precise and the wonderful lecturer who introduced it called it, “Mind Mapping” because by using this amazing tool we could create Mind Maps®.
Mind Mapping goes way back. In Charles Darwin’s “Transmutation of the Species (1837)” there are Darwin style Mind Maps® and if I cared to search, I’m sure there will be others. The point is, Mind Mapping is an exceptional tool and relates to the left / right brain discussion in my recent post about Creative Potential.
What Is Mind Mapping?
It’s exactly what it says in the header. An effective way to map out the contents of your mind that could relate to:
- Things you already know but need to pull together
- New things you are learning
- To do lists
- How to instructions
- Clarify your thinking
- See the ‘bigger’ picture
Anything that you need to remember, think about or develop.
It is a highly creative and effective way to take and retrieve notes from your mind because it works with the natural creativity of the mind. The brain engages in this creative activity right from the start.
Better be careful here, I’m not criticizing, honest. My wife takes copious notes when she needs to learn something relating to her profession. Her notes are linear, usually monotone and while they may contain a few underlined points; symbols and images are rare. To learn the content, she reads and rereads until the messages are assimilated into her thinking and practice. There is a lot of repetition.
“mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned”. Most of us are no strangers to this form of learning. From learning this way in our early school-days, the process is reinforced, and rote becomes the way we learn most things, even remembering family birthdays, events, shopping lists . . But wait! There’s a mind map for that.
The Basics of Mind Mapping
There are some free apps that enable electronic mind mapping. I’ve evaluated a few of these with restricted success because at the end of the day, they are limited by the thinking of the programmer. By far the best way is to get out the paper and pens.
- Plain Paper (I typically use A4 but sometimes step up to A3)
- Colored pens or pencils
- Your imagination
Mind maps work in the same way as the brain; starting with imagination and association. Tools at the ready, try this. On your sheet of paper (landscape position is best), write the word SPORT in the center then close your eyes for about 30 seconds and think about SPORT (Don’t write anything else on the paper just yet).
Did you see images of your favorite sport or sports personality? Perhaps you saw the colors or uniform of a particular sports team. Somebody on a mountain bike, a player swinging a baseball bat, a soccer player scoring a goal . . .
This is because your brain likes sensory images and forms personalized associations from the images. Your brain already knows how to mind map.
Now draw an image (in a different color) next to the word “sport”. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, a stick person with a ball at their feet will do. The image helps with focus. If you are a locksmith like my friend Jeff and you had written “Locksmith”, the image might be a simple key. Keep it simple.
Why Different Colors?
Different colors add vibrancy and our brains like that. They add energy to our creativity too and it’s fun. Did you know that the colors we were ‘told’ to use in school, such as blue, black and pencil grey are monotone and the lightwaves from those colors are identical? How monotonous! Learning improves when learning is fun.
Draw a branch from the word “SPORT” (see the image above). Like a tree branch, not straight lines and write in one word relating to your first sporty association at the top and add an image or relevant symbol. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Draw a secondary branch from there and add more until you’ve exhausted that sport.
Note how the ideas are connected. Connections form associations. Use single words because they enable flexibility. Single words can multiply and generate their own associations and connections. Phrases and sentences can inhibit the triggering effect.
Mind Mapping in Personal Development
This is an exceptional tool. A client told me how she was extraordinarily strong at a particular group of activities that are associated with the right side of the brain, but not so great at one thing from the left cortex even though it has strong links with the right. After some questions and analysis, I realized that although what she was saying was true for her, something didn’t ring true.
She wasn’t familiar with mind mapping, so I walked her through a tutorial to get her started. I then asked her to write the one word at the center of her paper that seemed to be the root of the problem she was experiencing. By associating through the powerful tool of mind mapping, she identified enough detail to effectively challenge the problem and move on.
This Post Mind Map
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Happy Mind Mapping!
I wish you a wonderful and successful day.
Peace & Light
Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.