Given that the Mind Map has been in the public domain now for nearly 35 years I am still quite suprised when I discover people who have still not heard of this remarkable thinking tool developed by Tony Buzan. It does not suprise me to find out that those who do know what a Mind Map is and have encountered Mind Mapping still don’t fully understand the incredible power they now have at their finger tips with this approach to thinking. That is because over the years, in my opinion, it has been poorly taught because many with the responsibility of sharing the concept have not truly understood its genius and so proliferated a watered down version of its capabilities.
It is an incredible business tool in the right hands and with the right understanding but sadly a rather fluffy, let’s hug and be really nice to each other approach has put many off from using it. Slowly it is changing as more of it is taught in schools and colleges and those who have been brought up from an early age with it are beginning to introduce it more and more into the workplace.
So what is it?
Well in one sentence it is a graphically based thinking system that mirrors the way the brain organises and sorts information and harnesses the brain’s ability to associate and retrieve large amounts of data triggered by a single word or picture. It uses both sides of the brain (conventional note taking/making strategies tend to focus on left brain activities) and encompasses the natural ability of the brain to think in pictures (if you don’t believe me, what did people think about before writing was invented) – sorry that was two sentences -mmm maybe all this mind mapping has affected my counting ability .
It has a central object/image/word that is the main focal point of the mind map with main branches leading off from the centre – these are the main points of the topic. On each branch are keywords or pictures. Expanding out from each main branch are smaller, thinner branches that represent the key points of that main branch. Each main branch, and its tributaries are drawn in a single, separate colour to differentiate them from the other areas of the Mind Map. The branches radiate out from the centre and can be as much a thing of beaty as it is a brain-friendly capture of an important topic and its related issues.
This of course is a word picture of a Mind Map and I will over the coming weeks and months share with you actual pictures of Mind Maps but for now, just let your mind dwell on the pen picture I have created for you.
Mind Maps have many uses and to sum them up I would say that anytime you have to organise your thoughts on paper, then I believe you will be getting far more from your thinking if you use a Mind Map. They apply equally well in your personal and business lives and certainly are ideal for students.
In short, you will become a better thinker if you incorporate Mind Maps into the way you run your lives.