Minimind Map Word Exercise

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The Mini-Mind Map is the embryonic form of a Mind Map. 'Mini' though this Mind Map is, its implications are gigantic.

To do the following exercises, you will need pens and a Mind Map notepad (see page 310) or several large sheets of blank paper.

Doing the exercises Fill in quickly, with printed single key words on the lines, and without pausing to choose, the first ten associations that radiate from the centre when you think of the concept 'happiness'. It is important to put down the first words that come into your mind, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. This exerdse is not a test and should take you no more than 1 minute.

If possible, ask two or three other people to do the exercise at the same time. Do not discuss your associations while doing the exercise.

Analysing the results

Your aim is to find those words which are common to all members of the group. (In this instance 'common' means exactly the same word - 'sun', for example, is not the same as 'sunshine'.)

Before counting up the results, you should each predict, individually and privately, how many words will be common to all members of the group; how many words common to all but one member; and how many words will have been chosen by only one person.

When you have finished the exercise and made your estimates, compare the words you have noted with those of your friends or associates. Then check and discuss the number of common words. (If you are doing the exercise on your own, simply compare your set of associations with the author's, below.)

Each person in turn can read out his/her list of words while the others write them down, underlining any words that are identical and identifying by colour or code who chose which words.

Most people predict that there will be many words common to the whole group, with only a few words unique to any individual. Yet, after thousands of trials, we have found that for there to be even one word common to all members of a group of four is a rarity.

When this 'common' word is itself made the centre of the next mini-Mind Map, and the same four people are asked to repeat the exercise on the 'common' word, the same result is observed, showing that even the commonality is rooted in fundamental difference!

The more people there are in the group, the less chance there is of any one word being common to all members of the group (see graph, overleaf).

Mini Mind Map One World
Sample from 1Happiness ' exercise.
Radiant Thinking

/ 2-3 it s (o 7 % 1 lo II II II 11+ 15 It II it IIZO

NUM5£R OF

AS THE OF PEOFLE /NCP-£A5ES

TffE fi/UM&ifZ of waft PS /N COMMON

Graph illustrating the incredible uniqueness of each human being's thinking networks. Results of similar exercises

The exercise you have just completed with the word 'happiness' produces similar results with any word.

For instance, a group of senior bank managers, all 40 to 55 years old and all from similar backgrounds, did the same exercise with the word 'run'. As we predicted, there were on average no words common to all four members of the group; occasionally one word common to three people; a few pairs of words common to two people; and most words unique to one individual.

The group complained that this was not fair because the word was not one of major interest to them. Had it been so, they predicted that their results would have been far more 'common'.

Accordingly they were given a second exercise, using 'money' instead of 'run'. To their amazement, their results were even more uncommon.

This finding contradicts a popular misconception: that the more you educate people, the more clone-like they will become. Radiant Thinking demonstrates that the opposite is true: the more you educate people, the more unique their vast, and growing, networks of associations become.

Opposite you will find the results from three groups of four people who recorded their associations with the word 'run'. Colour coding is used to indicate words common to more than one individual.

Radiant Thinking

The 'Multi-ordinate' run exercise by a group of three people searching for commonality (see page 66).

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