A few days ago, Chuck Frey, brilliant author of the Mind Mapping Software Weblog, asked me an interesting question: “What is the connection between human potential and mind mapping?” Here is the answer I sent to Chuck.
Many among those who have incorporated Mind Mapping Techniques in their daily life have experienced a shift in the way they organize tasks, resolve problems, prepare presentations and communicate. Most of them are enthusiastic about Mind Mapping. I would call it a “cognitive shift”, because it induces real changes in the way we manage information, create knowledge and deeper understanding.
It has a lot to do with visual cognition, which helps us connect elements visually in a spatial format and create meanings.
Some key aspects of the cognitive shifiting induced by mind mapping:
Whole Brain Thinking
By including patterning, metaphors, analogies, visuals into the way we are encoding information, mind mapping promotes the integration between both hemispheres.
Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry underlined that our education systems tended to neglect the non verbal form of intellect. Mind Mapping fully integrates verbal and non verbal thinking, and balance between logic and imagination.
Creating a mindmap using a very personal style (keywords, colours, and symbols) is like linking a piece of information with something already established in our memory and allows us to recall better. Research also shows that emotionally charged pictures improve dramatically memorization.
Mindmapping is a way to search the underlying structures of the complex information we want to represent and improve pattern recognition. In the hyper-competitive reality of today’s business environment, effective pattern recognition helps find order in chaotic inputs of information and refine options to the best opportunities.
One of most popular mind map uses is to create a mind map about your goals. This allows you to articulate your goals and see how they are interconnected.
Learning with fun
Mind mapping helps you o to simplify and find the essence of a subject. If you create a mind map, combining colours, pictures and keywords, you have an outstanding and illustrated tool for studying, much more fun and memorable than a traditional text.
Human thought is characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction, and based on the concept that there are multiple starting points from which one can apply logic to problem. Mind Mapping allows you to present a product, concept, or argument in a heuristic way by exploring from location to location what is essential. At any point you can zoom out and suddenly, “See the big picture”.
Use of visual metaphors and associative thinking
The human brain loves to seek the correlation between two objects. As a mind mapper, the ability to extract visual metaphors will allow you to express deeper meaning and the ability to trigger deep emotions without using sentences.
Structure your projects and tasks
Mind mapping helps your productivity by organizing your projects and tasks in a structured way, mapping out your thought processes into some tangible form. Our mind can decipher visual elements faster than it can decipher text based ones.
So when you have a digital mind map for an important growing project, a single look at it will give you an idea on how much is done and what is left. Time won’t be wasted in reading status reports or in understanding it; and that time can be utilized in some other work.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to use Mind Mapping and boost your productivity is to begin each day by spending five minutes creating a Mind Map ‘to do’ list. This will allow you to view and review your tasks, prioritising according to deadlines and realistically determining what is achievable in the time you have available.
Mind Mapping provides a strategic framework for directing action. If you have to expose your ideas, share your vision or resolve problems a mind map can be helpful, not only as a thinking tool but also as a process. Mind mapping makes you identifying and connecting the key concepts, use your creativity, find keywords and visual metaphors. By building a visual model that shows the interdependence of the elements of a problem you are using system thinking.
“The way to create something great is to create something simple... Progress requires simplicity" writes Richard Koch in his book “The 80/20 Principle”. By turning complex information into a simple and clear representation, the process of creating a mind map helps you develop an essential leadership’s skill: simplicity. “The role of a leader is to simplify. Knowledge work is all about how we use one another's time and attention," says Bill Jensen author of the book “Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage".