Thursday, May 02, 2013

Mind Mapping - A Resource for Becoming More Aware

OK, I am hooked on this creativity stuff, so feel free to hit “delete” if you are tired of it.

I have been using a resource for becoming more creative in the last week.  It has been around for years, but it’s new to me and it’s working wonders.

It’s called “Mind Mapping”.  It helps with this week’s lesson in creativity because I am seeing things more clearly than I have before with the help of this visual aid.

Many people use mind maps to organize and prioritize their daily thoughts.  I have been using it to become more aware of issues that tug at me and to help me get unstuck.

Here is a quick 2 minute video from Tina to briefly describe what mind maps are:

Mind Mapping Video

Now, I will tell you how they are changing my life.  I have always thought I was completely a “word” person.  I journal and write, and obviously, blog.  I never realized how visual I really am, probably because I can’t draw.  I get distracted just trying to draw a perfect circle (yes, for me, it has to be perfect...don’t ask).  So, a friend told me about an app called, “Simple Mind”.  This app is for the iPhone, iPad, or Android (also for the desktop, if you want).

This app has really made a difference for me.  For example, I put my problem or my issue in the center (and I have found doing two mind maps in a row really helped because I could see the parallel patterns and what I was doing).

First, I put the the main issue in the center, then each circle attached to that is a sub part of the problem and then you repeat.  Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.

Maybe it was just me, but suddenly I saw the patterns that I was repeating over and over.  Now, I should have been able to be more aware of this by just thinking about it or writing about it, but that didn’t happen.  When I saw the mind map, particularly two mind maps of different issues one right after another, I could see how I was getting stuck.  The clarity that came from the visual made me so aware of what I was doing that I have actually been able to stop some of my patterns.  I don’t know how long it will last, but just being aware of the pattern was a real “aha” moment, as Oprah would say.

Give it a try.  It can’t hurt and it might just help.  Best of all, it was really fun. If you are artistic, paper and pen is sufficient.  But, if you are like me, and even drawing stick figures is a challenge, consider the app or something like it that helps you overcome the hurdle of “ugly” shapes.

For just a general overview of mind maps, go to the Wikipedia link or this link on LiteMind