There are four major pitfalls for any Mind Mapper:
The idea that phrases are more meaningful
The idea that a 'messy' Mind Map is no good
4 A negative emotional reaction to any Mind Map
All these danger areas can easily be avoided as long as you bear in mind the principles explained below.
1 Mind Maps that aren't really Mind Maps
The Figures overleaf are often created by people at an early stage in Mind Mapping who have not yet fully absorbed all the Mind Map laws.
At first glance, they look like Mind Maps and seem to obey the fundamental Mind Mapping principles. There are, however, a number of differences. As both figures develop, their structure becomes increasingly random and monotonous. Furthermore, all the ideas are reduced to the same level and each one becomes ^associated from the others.
Because the laws of clarity, emphasis and association have been neglected, what appeared to be developing into order and structure has in fact resulted in confusion, monotony and chaos.
2 The idea that phrases are more meaningful
This danger area can best be explained with a practical example.
Let's say that someone has had a very unhappy afternoon and wishes to make the Mind Map diary entries shown in Figures 1 and 2 on page 114.
Initially this may appear to be a perfectly adequate record of an afternoon that was indeed 'very unhappy'. However, on closer examination, a number of disadvantages become clear. Firstly, this note makes it extremely difficult to revise the interpretation of the afternoon. The phrase expresses a fixed concept which is not open to any other possibility.
By contrast, Figure 2 breaks the phrase into its individual word meanings, allowing each word the freedom to radiate its own unique associations. The importance of this can be seen even more dramatically in Figure 3, where the single-word rule is taken to its logical conclusion, and where the additional guidelines of image and colour have been added. Here you can see that the main concept in the afternoon is the concept of happiness with the major emphasis on the un in unhappy. You may have been ill, failed dramatically, or received some exceptionally bad news, all of which is true. It is also true that the afternoon contained some positives (the sun may have shone, even if very briefly!) which the single-word/image rule, allows you to record truthfully. The single unit Mind Map rule allows you to see both your internal and external environments more clearly and realistically, and therefore to be more Wl yourself.
At their worst, negative phrases can wipe out days, years, and even dec of people's lives. 'Last year was the worst year of my life', 'My school ye were pure hell!', to quote two commonly heard examples.
If such thoughts are constantly repeated they eventually take on the app ance of truth. But they are not true. Certainly, we all experience disappoint! and frustration at times. But there are always underlying positive factors-fl nothing else, the fact that we are still alive and conscious of being depress And of course there is the fact that we still possess the potential for positm change and development.
Mind Maps that aren't really Mind Maps. Which of these structures leads to confusion, monotony and drastic thought? (See page 111.)
Using single words in your Mind Maps enables you to see your internal and external environment more clearly and realistically. It also provides balance, allowing you to see the 'other side' of any issue. It is especially helpful for problem-solving and creative thinking because it opens your mind to all the options.
3 The idea that a 'messy' Mind Map is no good
In certain situations, perhaps when you are short of time or you are listening to a rather confusing lecture, you may produce a 'messy'-looking Mind Map. This does not mean it is 'bad'. It is simply a reflection of your state of mind at the time, or of the input your mind was receiving.
Your 'messy'-looking Mind Map may lack clarity and beauty but it will still bean accurate record of your mental processes while making it.
Neatly written linear notes may look aesthetically pleasing, but what kind of information retrieval do they give? As we have seen, such notes appear to be very precise and organised but - lacking emphasis or association - they are usually almost impossible for the eye to decode.
Realising this can eliminate a lot of guilt and self-denigration. Looking at your Mind Map may help you realise that it was not you but the lecturer you were listening to, or the author of the book you were reading, who was disorganised, messy and confused!
You may occasionally produce a 'final' Mind Map straight away but you will often produce a 'first attempt'. If you are disappointed or depressed by the standard of your Mind Map you should simply remind yourself that it is only a first draft which will require revision before it reaches maturity.
Throughout this book the Mind Maps have been selected or prepared to illustrate as many of the laws and applications as possible. At this point you may find it useful to look quickly at all the Mind Maps in this book, checking them against the laws and criticising where appropriate. Having done this, you should copy elements from the best ones in order to produce your own, even more radiant, beautiful and memorable Mind Maps!
VERY "Mh^py Aftfbki^
figure 1: Standard phrase noting, which at first glance appears adequate, but which comm dangerous inaccuracies.
urJHAPPy figure 2: More concise noting, which illustrates the freedom for each word to radiate its on associations.
figure 3: Note following the full Mind Map guidelines, which allows the noter to reflia j more comprehensive, true and balanced picture of reality.
Progression of noting a 'very unhappy afternoon' in which application of the Mind Map la® brings the noter much closer to the truth (see pages 111-12).
This chapter has given you all the knowledge you need to launch yourself into the infinite universe of Radiant Thinking! Having absorbed all the laws and recommendations, you need to make your Mind Maps truly your own. Tht next chapter, 'Developing a Personal Style', explains how you can enhance your Mind Maps by using them to express your particular personal combination of skills and characteristics.
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