In 1967 I took a course on “how successful people think.” The instructor used the analogy of a tree with branches to share with us what he used to solve problems and make decisions. To say the least, I was blown away by the concept; I still use it multiple times a day in one form or another.
For those new to Mind-Mapping, a Mind Map is a non-linear diagram, representing words, thoughts, ideas, tasks, etc., using a simple structure to encourage free thinking. The map is arranged around a key idea with branches going out to wherever your thoughts lead. Ideally, it allows for the grouping of similar thoughts and ends up as a visual overview, an important step towards greater understanding and focus on any given subject.
Tony Buzan, author and a leading authority on Mind-Mapping, offers some valuable guidelines for creating them:
- Use symbols, images, and colors whenever possible.
- Allow each word, phrase, or thought to have its own line.
- Utilize numbers or some form of hierarchy to prioritize different thought groupings.
- Do not be afraid to try something new, making the map unique to you.
While the concept of Mind-Mapping may be new to some, as far as I’m aware of, this method of expressing and recording thoughts goes back to Leonardo da Vinci in the 1400’s. As a tool, it also can enhance and streamline problem-solving and decision-making.
Mind Maps are created in as many different ways as there are different people in the world, from digitally drawn, to done by hand. Most important is to do it; do it often and consistently to develop a thought in a quick, detailed, and action-oriented manner.
Mind-Mapping software options and resources have proven to be an excellent way to hone critical-thinking skills. They are especially helpful in organizing large amounts of data, and can also provide a more detailed visual via the software’s digital pictures, symbols, etc.
Books and blog posts for learning more about Mind Maps:
- How to Mind Map Guide (Blog Post)
- The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Un- tapped Potential by Tony Buzan and Barry Buzan
- Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving by Joyce Wycoff. NOTE: Wycoff’s book is a concise read, geared to the business professional but with valuable insights, as well, for individuals. It is divided into three sections: 1) a brief introduction to mind-maps, 2) how to effectively create them, and 3) how to use them to help you in all areas of life. Her practical, down-to-earth approach is often easier to follow than Buzan’s lengthy tomes – something busy people everywhere can appreciate.
- Check out Google, Ted Talks, and YouTube for Mind-Mapping articles and videos.
Various clients completed the following Mind-Map examples. They demonstrate a few different ways to use them.
For reference: A Mind-Map of a trading plan.
For planning and strategizing: A Mind-Map to plan possible trading scenarios for an upcoming trading session.
For recording, tracking, or journaling: A Mind-Map to track and record important events and their progress during a trading session.
Ultimately, the Mind Map is an intuitive tool, an indispensable asset to anyone looking to focus and capitalize on his or her thoughts. While its uses may be limitless, the effectiveness of Mind Maps is limited to the thinker’s willingness to embrace and gain proficiency in the use.
Until next time . . .