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"The first humans to make marks were literally making a gigantic leap in the evolution of intelligence, for they were externalizing the first traces of the mental world. In so doing, they were fixing their thoughts in time and space, and also enabling their thoughts to span those same dimensions. Human intelligence could now communicate with itself across the infinite reaches of time and space." Tony Buzan, author, The Mind Map Book

Our brain's potential is infinite. From the evidence of its physiological and psychological architecture, we know that our brain contains vast power that is waiting to be unleashed. Since western civilization's birth, we have been limiting the brain's potential by forcing it to use limited modes of expression. These methods have resulted in problems relating to our ability to learn, remember and organize information to our fullest capacity. When we fail in this regard, many of us resort to loss of self-confidence that affects us the rest of our lives. Lifetimes are wasted, simply because people do not have access to the knowledge of how their brains work.

Linear Note Taking - Bad for the Brain

"Linear note taking has served as one of the greatest impediments to learning", says leading author, Tony Buzan, President of The Brain Foundation. In his book "The Mind Map Book," Buzan offers several reasons why linear note taking has been limiting our brain's potential, the most important being that it fails to stimulate the brain creatively, "By its very nature, the linear presentation of standard notes prevents the brain from making associations, thus counteracting creativity and memory. In addition, especially when faced with list-style notes, the brain constantly has the sense that it has 'come to an end' or 'finished'. The false sense of completion acts almost like a mental narcotic, slowing and stifling our thought process."

Mind Mapping - An Evolutionary Breakthrough

Mind mapping, an effective alternative to linear note taking, is a technique that was developed by Tony Buzan in the 1970's. It is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlocking the potential of the brain. As described in Tony's book, Mind Maps were designed based on the research of how our brains actually work. Buzan says, "Your brain's thinking pattern may be seen as a gigantic branching association machine, with lines of thought radiating from a virtually infinite number of data nodes."

The term Radiant Thinking, a term also coined by Buzan, means "to spread or move in directions from a given center" and refers to our associative thought processes. Radiant Thinking is the natural and automatic way which all human beings have functioned, but we have used it only in a singular fashion in our evolutionary development. Mind mapping is really a tool to capture and develop our natural thought process. Though drawn on a two dimensional page, Mind Mapping represents a multidimensional reality that encompasses space, time and color.

(courtesy of The Mind Map Book)

A Mind Map covering an entire section of a chemistry course
by Graham Wheeler

Generating Your First Mind Map
Excerpts from "The Mind Map Book", by Tony Buzan

The Mind Map has four essential characteristics:

  • The subject of attention is magnified as the central image.
  • The main themes of the subject radiate from the central image as branches.
  • Branches comprise a key image or key word printed on an associated line. Topics of lesser importance are also represented as branches attached to higher level branches.
  • The branches are connected to a nodal structure.

Mind maps may be enhanced and enriched with color, pictures, codes and dimension to add interest, beauty and individuality. These in turn aid creativity, memory and specifically the recall of information.

Mind maps help you to make a distinction between your mental storage capacity which your Mind Map will help you demonstrate, and your mental storage efficiency, which your Mind Map will help you achieve. Storing data efficiently multiplies your capacity. It is like the difference between a library with or without an organized system of retrieval.

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The The Mind Map Book, Tony Buzan
Plume, Published by the Penguine Group - 1993

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