Discover the benefits of mind-mapping to help you to study and run your life more effectively. Get immediate results in just 5 minutes.
Have you ever come across something simple that can radically change your life? Has anyone ever handed you the keys to the candy store? Are you a structured thinker or do you simply let things happen to you? Would you like to understand a tool that can literally change your life?
I was first introduced to the idea of mind-mapping back in 1984 by a pioneer in this area. I was in College doing a business degree and mind-mapping was introduced as a study aid. My tried and tested study technique until then was repetitive reading and linear note taking. The problem with this method is that it is just not possible to remember pages and pages of text and the bit I managed to retain was never enough to get me the exam scores I believe I deserved.
Mind-mapping was introduced as a tool that allows you to note-take in the same way that your brain operates. Everything we learn from birth to death is built on a link structure. As a newborn baby, you learn that if you cry when uncomfortable with a wet diaper or hunger pains, then someone will take away the discomfort once you squeal loud enough. This is called associate memory. Everything we learn throughout our lives is associated to something we learned earlier.
This associative memory can be represented on a single piece of paper as an information bubble at the centre of a page, with lots of other information bubbles leading out from the centre. Each bubble is linked by a wavy line. So what is so special about this? Well, from a study point of view you might have a chapter heading in the middle of a page surrounded by topics covered in the chapter. Moving out from each topic you might have some keywords that remind you of the detail contained in the chapter.
What you now have is a visual representation of the chapter, and all it contains, on a single page. If you revise this one hour after completing it, revisit it one day later, then after one week and finally after one month, you will find that the entire mind map is ingrained in your memory. Your brain operates in a visual way and you are now feeding it in a way that allows it to file and categorize information in the way that suits it best.
So how does this translate into a tool that will change your life? Once you have seen the benefits of mind mapping, as I did with my exam scores, you will start to use it in other parts of your life. Visualize that you are planning a vacation with your family. Using a mind map, with a bubble called vacation in the centre of the page. You can surround this with bubbles for all the things you need to bring with you. For example, you might have bubbles for documents, clothing, immunizations, spending money, sunscreens, toiletries, maps, etc. A sub-set of the documents category might be passports, airline tickets, car hire confirmation, visas, hotel vouchers, itinerary etc. It becomes a cheat sheet for everything you need to remember to pack.
The greatest joy I have gotten from mind mapping is teaching it to my kids. Starting with pen and paper, they have now graduated to using electronic mind mapping products. I have encouraged my kids to use it for note taking in school and college as well as for a study aid and exam preparation tool. The results they are achieving from using mind mapping, coupled with the effective use of their time, make it a really worthwhile investment.
Mind mapping has literally hundreds of different applications and it can turn you into a structured thinker as well as supercharging your memory. You can start doing it on a single sheet of paper with a pencil or you can buy one of the electronic student versions available on the internet for less than $100.
About the Author
Niall Strickland is an MBA with more than 20 years of business and management consulting experience working with entrepreneurs in small and medium companies. To get more information on Mind Mapping for Individuals visit