by Dr. Dilip
A Powerful Tool to Unlock Your Creative Genius
The audience was filling the
room. There was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as the
motivational evening was about to begin. A few minutes before the start
time, the master of ceremonies received a message that one of the speakers
would not be able to attend the event. When he anxiously asked me
whether I would fill that fifteen-minute speaking slot, the answer was
simple. Yes! I had a topic and related knowledge that I felt was ideal
for the audience. Just as important, I had a powerful tool that I could
use to immediately generate and organize ideas for my speech during the short
time that I had to prepare. That tool is called a mind map.
This process was developed by
Tony Buzan as a roadmap to help us tap our minds in a new and powerful
way. His system enhances creativity, increases our ability to
generate and organize ideas. He named this non-linear mind-tapping
system "mind map". He and his brother, Professor Barry
Buzan, wrote the definitive text on the subject. The Mind Map Book (Dutton,
Penguin Books, 1994).
A mind map is a way of
organizing information that is both rational and artistic, both logically
ordered and spontaneously expressive. It is typically an organic
multi-colored chart laid out on a large sheet of paper, containing words
and drawings that are connected in various ways. A mind map gives a
structure for the mind's images and associations by centering them around
a central theme. It utilizes analytical left brain functions such as
key words, sequencing, and associative links combined with spatial right
brain functions like symbols, color, dimension, and connective
lines. The act of forming a mind map makes you practice harmonious whole
brain thinking that brings together left brain thinking and right brain
thinking. Those who mind map discover that whole brain thinking is greater
than the sum of the left and right brain thinking parts. A basic mind map
can be started in the following way:
While the main idea in the
center of the page, and circle it.
For primary components of
the main idea, draw a line out from the circle in various directions,
and write the headings above or below the lines.
For secondary components,
draw lines radiating from each of the primary headings, and label
A complete mind map may have
main topic lines radiating in all directions, with sub-topics and facts
branching out from them, like branches and twigs off the trunk of
tree. In this way, the mind map describes the "shape" of
the subject, the relative importance of ideas, and the way the information
relates to other information. Because of the degree of free
association involved. mind maps can be very creative, tending to
generate new ideas and associations that have not been thought of before.
Once you understand how to
assemble the basic structure of a mind map, you can develop your own
coding and conventions to take things further and show connections between
ideas. Use the following suggestions to enhance the effectiveness of
your mind maps.
Use single words or
simple phrases. Strong words and evocative phrases can be more
powerful than long sentences.
Use color to separate
different ideas. This will help your mind to separate ideas when
necessary, organize information, and will help in remembering
information in the future.
Use symbols and images.
When a symbol speaks more strongly to you than words, use
it. Images help with the recall of information.
Use shapes, circles,
and frames to connect information. They are additional tools to
help show the groupings and relationships of information.
Use arrows to show
cause and effect.
The creative potential of mind mapping is particularly useful in brainstorming sessions. You need
only to start with the basic problem as the center, then generate
associations and ideas in order to arrive at a large number of different
possible solutions. Other effective uses for mind maps include:
organizing ideas for speeches, reports and articles; planning training
events, meetings, and parties; problem solving, studying; and interview
preparation. Graduates of my mind map course have also reported using mind mapping to reduce stress, set goals, understand themselves, and plan
a career. Others have reported that mind mapping is successful in
resolving conflicts. In mind mapping, you have a tool that allows
the most powerful computer on earth, the human brain, to function in a
natural, harmonious way that unlocks the creative genius within you.
Since it is a system that taps
into the way the brain naturally functions, you find that mind mapping
puts you in touch with your true creative potential, and that you can
generate and organize ideas at an incredibly fast pace. Use of color
and images stimulates the imagination. In addition, color, symbols,
key words, and associative links all make the mind map far more memorable
than traditional linear written or typed notes.
The most gratifying proof of
the power of mind mapping comes to me from the graduates of my mind mapping course. A computer systems professional wrote: "I feel
I have been shown a key to unlocking the flood of creativity I know is
inside me." A college professor wrote: "I learned a new way to
think. I learned to focus in a new and fascinating way. It was
informative, helpful, and eye opening. It was literally mind
expanding." Perhaps the most succinct and revealing comment about
this method is one which Michael Gelb, a "Master Teacher" of mind mapping, heard from one of his students: "Thank you for finally
waking up my brain!"
MINNESOTA WESTERN, Meeting
and Presentation Systems