Email #3: Mind Mapping

Hello _____!

This is the third email in a series on dealing with the stress of being arrested. This is not specifically related to your case.

In the last emails, I suggested that you utilize podcasts to listen to smart, wise, and experienced people talk about life, relationships, and success. And to write down your goals. Today I'd like to introduce the concept of mind mapping.

Whether you are a software developer, server, teacher, or construction worker, success depends on the ability to organize your thoughts. Mind mapping is a useful technique to arrange all the thoughts and ideas bouncing around your brain into a visual diagram. Mind mapping is different from writing a to-do list or an outline because the creative process is free form. The creation of a mind map does not force you to think in a specific order (such as a checklist). It prioritizes brainstorming and flexible organization.

There are many websites (and apps) that allow you to create mind maps. The best free cloud-based website is Mindmeister. Personally, I use the paid version of iThoughts (for Mac).

Here are some examples of mind maps.

How should you start your mind map? The central topic should be "My Life" with branches out to work, family, finances, and other interests. As you add more details you should include more abstract concepts such as:

  • Things that are important to you
  • Problems you are having
  • Tasks that you would like to complete
  • Things you would like to improve
  • Networking goals

It is surprisingly joyful to create a diagram of the thoughts in your head! Of course, a mind map can also be used for a specific project. For example, here is a mind map outlining the concepts of Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Another tool that you should have on your smart phone is a "To Do" app. Check out the system. Instead of browsing Facebook when you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you can make plans, goals, and steps towards taking better control of your life.

Challenge: Send me a mind map that you have created. I will reply with comments and suggestions.

Bonus: Check out this podcast with Krista Tippett, a National Humanities Medal winner.

I hope you find this useful. As always, call us if you have any questions.