“In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.” – William S. Burroughs
Sometime in the early 90’s I had a teacher who showed me what a mindmap was. She drew some bubbles with words in them and showed how to branch them out. She was super-excited, apparently something she’d picked up at the teachers conference or something.
What she thought would revolutionize our young minds looked something like…
A few of us thought it was a great idea and took it to heart. What she’d failed to either learn or mention to us was that this would help us diddly squat if we just emulated what was on that whiteboard.
Just take a look at that picture again. What do you see? Branches? Hierarchy? Good, that’s some help. What’s missing? The human element.
Our brains aren’t just filing cabinets. They work in a different way. Sure, we associate things and categorize. The information isn’t just stored in one place and associated to one group or subgroup. They intertwine and mesh with other concepts and ideas.
What could’ve helped us in that instance? Had she started explaining about how the brain works at that point she’d lost us, she’d lost us all! No, the thing she missed was pretty simple. Text in boxes don’t help us much.
Here’s what helps our brain to sort out the information: sight, sound, taste, smell and touch!
Compare the two mindmaps. See the difference? Hells yeah! Pictures, colors, emotions! Not just black and white with “perfect” lines and a clear hierarchy. It’s a little messy. It’s also a LOT more natural!
So the one above is done on a computer, which slows down the free-flowing process compared to when we’re doing this by hand.
Here’s what you need:
1. Piece o’ paper, A4 or bigger.
2. Color pens.
Some people will look at the mind map above and think that they need to be really “artistic”. NO! Plz! Stahp!
As long as you can draw lines, triangles, circles/ovals and squares you’ll be just fine! They don’t have to be perfect or even good. With those things you can draw symbols for almost anything!
When we have both words and pictures associated we’re 6 times [!!!] more likely to remember the information. If we keep adding emotion and other senses just imagine… No, wait, don’t imagine… Do it!
Here’s a video by the guy who “invented” mind maps. At times I think Tony Buzan makes a lot of sense, at other times I think he comes across like kind of a dick. I don’t know what it is, but just do what I do and take what you like and leave everything else!