A mind map is a visual and structural representation of your ideas. Mind-mapping is useful for bringing clarity and innovation to your thinking. This creativity enhancement technique can clearly reveal how the elements of your ideas make up a precious mosaic of pure brilliance.
In this post you’ll find out how mind maps can help you and how to make a mind map to improve your creativity and innovation, solve a certain problem, set a goal or prepare for an exam. Some people even make mind maps to effectively learn a foreign language!
You start making a mind map by placing an image at the center of a piece of paper. The image is the central of your whole mind map. Next to the image you write down a key word or a short phrase that sums up your topic (the shorter the phrase, the better). Then you connect main branches to the central idea.
These branches are your associations with the key phrase, i.e. with your focus of attention. You can only write down one key word or phrase per branch. Each main association is then branched out into second-level associations. Second-level associations are branched out into the third-level associations and so on…
Make sure your branches are tapered and naturally flowing rather than straight-lined and uniformed. Think in pictures while creating a mind map, visualize concepts, ideas, associations. Using color and images in your mind map enhances your memory, fuels imagination. Before you look into a step-by-step mind-mapping instruction below, find out why this method of creativity is so effective.
Creating a mind map: why bother?
You may have noticed that your mind doesn’t produce formal lists or rigid black-and-white lines when generating ideas or just thinking thoughts. Your train of thought usually goes with the colorful flow of associations and images. Your brain is radiant: it focuses centrally and then radiates out in all directions. Since creating a mind map involves letters and numbers, color and images, they activate the left and the right sides of the brain.
According to experts in creativity (Tony Buzan, Michael J. Gelb and others), regular mind mapping allows you to:
- strengthen both sides of your brain providing huge creative potential
- train yourself to become a balanced thinker
- synergistically increase your brain power and encourage spontaneity
By the way, a lot great geniuses used to make notes that included branching, key words, associations, outlines, artistic doodling. Mark Twain and Beethoven were among the prominent people who managed to direct their daydreams. Want to join the pantheon of our history’s geniuses? Start to use associations and images externally, create mind maps and make the most of this genius tool to find out exactly what creative people are like and become one of them!
How to create a mind map: step-by-step guide
To create a mind map, you will need a blank sheet of paper, colored pens or pencils. In the center of your page draw a picture that represents the main topic (central idea) of your mind map. Using colors and images enhances your creative thinking potential and encourages imagination by activating right-brain thinking.
Follow the steps in the video below to find out how to create a mind map:
Mind-mapping as a creative thinking tool: five steps
- Step 1. Start out fast. In the center of a blank page place an image related to the central topic of your creative interest. From that image start leading out every idea/association that occurs to you. Doing it fast will enable you to avoid your habitual thinking patterns and stave off your inner judge.
- Step 2. First revision. After a short break study the mind map you’ve burst out on the spur of the moment. Categorize your closely related ideas and create hierarchies. When you’re through with restructuring your first map in your mind, make an updated one.
- Step 3. Disconnect. Take a break and spend some time doing something else: take a walk, call a friend, work out etc. Start a simple activity as a distraction and rest for your conscious mind. It will enable your subconscious mind to keep on working on the problem in a healthy and most productive way until you have a sudden ‘Eureka!’ moment.
- Step 4. Polishing the gem. Engage in a second mind map burst. Revise your mind map and generate more ideas. Now that you’ve examined the whole thing thoroughly, it’s time to create your complete and ultimate mind map.
- Step 5. Letting it shine. Look through your final mind map and pick the ideas you are going to bring into play at school or at work.
If you know how to make a mind map, you can keep it all in one picture. You can see what you have done, what you need to do, what the priority is, what can wait… In other words, you are always in control. You are running your own life rather than the pace and the stress of it running you. Mind map is a tool for life. But it’s also a tool that helps you manage, run, create, plan, reach success. For more ideas and inspiration, browse through the mind map library here.