Organising Your Own Ideas
• Complex Mind Mapping
• Journey through the mind of a Mind Mapper, Part 4
• Thought-building exercises
• Benefits of polycategoric Mind Maps
In this chapter you will learn how to organise your own ideas (make notes), using multiple-branched or polycategoric Mind Maps. These involve more complex hierarchies and a greater number of Basic Ordering Ideas than the simple dyadic model. Polycategoric Mind Maps can be used for most descriptive, analytic and evaluative tasks but we have used basic decision-making examples in order to ease your transition from dyadic to polycategoric Mind Mapping. You will also continue your journey through the mind of a Mind Mapper, and learn some enjoyable thought-building games and exercises.
Note-making is the process by which you extract information from either your memory or from your creative reservoirs and organise that information in an external form. It is the process by which you organise your own ideas in either a dyadic or polycategoric (more complex) way.
Whereas simple dyadic Mind Maps have two major branches radiating from the centre, complex or polycategoric Mind Maps can have any number of major branches. In practice, the average number of branches or Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) is between three and seven.
This is because, as we saw in Chapter 10, the average brain cannot hold more than seven major items of information in its short-term memory. You should therefore aim to select the minimum number of BO Is that will truly embrace your subject, using them as a way of breaking the information up into manageable chunks, rather like chapter titles in a book.
The following groups of BOIs have been found to be particularly useful in developing polycategoric Mind Maps:
• Basic questions - how/when/where/why/what/who/which?
• Divisions - chapters/lessons/themes
• Properties - characteristics of things
• History - chronological sequence of events
• Structure - forms of things
• Evaluation - how good/worthwhile/beneficial things are
• Classification - how things are related to each other
• Definitions - what things mean
• Personalities - what roles/characters people have
Learning to develop and manipulate polycategoric Mind Maps will enormously enhance your brain's ability to describe, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information.
Interestingly, over the last century, the highly sophisticated hierarchical classification systems used in biology and astronomy (see overleaf) have increasingly come to resemble complex polycategoric Mind Maps - a case of Mind Maps reflecting nature and vice versa!
JOURNEY THROUGH THE MIND OF A MIND MAPPER, PART 4
Since we left our host in the last chapter, he or she has made the decision, based on the completed dyadic Mind Map, to buy a house. The question now is a rather more complex one: What kind of house shall I buy?
At first the process is identical. Our host places an appropriate three-dimensional, multi-coloured image at the centre. Then he or she selects BOIs which cover the full range of choices available: price, environment, purposes,
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A classification system which resembles a complex polycategoric Mind Map (see page 133).
additions, size, style.
Once these parameters have been established, our host can fill in his or her specific desires and priorities under each heading. This process immediately clarifies the range of choices to be made, highlighting the key trade-offs which will govern the purchase. The Mind Map does not make the decision itself-it presents the Mind Mapper with a 'smorgasbord' of choices from which the most appropriate decision can be taken.
Having completed the polycategoric Mind Map our host is ready to consult the estate agents' literature with a much clearer idea of what he or she wants and needs from a house.
Like all forms of thinking, polycategoric Mind Mapping is a skill that can be learnt and developed. Here are two useful and enjoyable thought-building exercises.
Why would it be fun to?
Each of these exercises can be done as speed Mind Maps as they are an excellent way of improving your ability to select relevant BOIs quickly. Imagine, and then Mind Map, why it would be fun to:
Withdraw from a.
ke sure that you specify an object for each item on the list, and try choosing ome 'absurd' objects in order to boost your imagination, memory and creative lg abilities all at the same time. The next step is to do a very quick Mind ap for each one, choosing no more than seven major reasons why each item Duld be fun. (A secondary benefit of these exercises is that they often result ireal action being taken when you realise how much fun you could be having!)
[This is a more abstract, and therefore more demanding, way of testing your BOI selection skills. Your task is to prepare a Mind Map describing object X. The problem is that you do not know what object X is, so you must try to find a set of general-purpose BOIs which, if developed, could generate a full and ordered description of any object.
When your polycategoric Mind Map has been completed, the decision-making \ process will resemble that of the simple two-way choice, and the steps to be followed in this instance are the same as those outlined in the preceding chapter.
Having completed a polycategoric Mind Map, you may wish to apply one or more of the methods described in Chapter 12 (page 125, 'Making the choice') in order to reach your decision. The major benefits of polycategoric Mind Maps are as follows:
They help you develop your mental powers of classification, categorisation, incisiveness and clarity.
£ They enable you to collect complex data in an integrated form on a single page, thus increasing the chances of making an informed and intelligent decision.
J They highlight the key trade-offs which must be considered in the decision.
T Like dyadic Mind Maps, they utilise the full range of cortical skills, resulting in a more comprehensively considered decision.
3 By stimulating all these cortical areas, polycategoric Mind Maps encourage the brain to enter into a dialogue with itself. In other words they allow the brain to observe its own activity in an externalised whole picture and thus to learn more about itself. This new knowledge expands the brain's perspective, encouraging it to have even more advanced thoughts about the topic.
O They can be filed away for future use as reminders of the reasons for previous decisions or as guides for other situations in which similar decisions have to be made.
Now that you have learnt how to organise your own ideas, to make notes using polycategoric Mind Maps, you will find it easy to organise other people's ideas, to take notes. The vital and enjoyable art of note-taking, traditionally the bane of many people's lives, is the subject of the next chapter.
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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.