Why you should ditch the list: mind-mapping for the ‘whole brain’

This post is dedicated to you list-makers. While I have the highest respect for your ability to organize, I’d like to challenge you today – and everyone reading this post – to switching things up just a little bit. In honour of Michel Gelb’s Framework for Genius, today we’re discussing Arte/Scienza, (i.e whole brain thinking). And what better way to tap into the different aspects of your mind that switching from list-making to mind mapping?

So today, I’m challenging you to try mind mapping, and to give you some guidance, how about you mind-map your dream vacation? (It’s about the right time of year to start day-dreaming about vacation & summer time, no?)

Mind Map ExampleYes, lists are quick – but they’re also very “logic heavy.” With mind mapping you are able to tap into the visual, the kinaesthetic, the Dream Vacationlogical, the right and the left (try switching hands mid-map and see what happens; more on this next week!), and tie them all together.

It can take longer to mind map, particularly at the beginning. But what you get is a far more in-depth perspective on the matter at hand. Whether you are planning a speech, an essay, a trip, a meeting, a day off . . . I’m telling you, it’s so worth taking the extra five minutes to map things out.

Right – your dream vacation in the making:

  • Grab yourself a blank sheet of paper, or at least, a blank space on a sheet of paper. We’ll be using our hands, and not our computers to create your dream vacation mind-map. (Yes, I know the example was done on a computer, but you’d never read my handwriting had I drawn it out!) That’ll help tap into the kinaesthetic experience.
  • In the middle, write something along the lines of ‘my dream vacation’
  • Now imagine how that time would ideally feel, look, sound, taste, smell . . . . where would you be, what would you be doing, who would you be with?
  • Once you’ve looked at your various representational systems and developed a sense of this vacation, start creating branches and bubbles leading off from the central space. Branches can have branches, and these ideas can link together.
  • Michel Gelb suggests using different colours to connect your ideas. Maybe you use yellow for happiness, green for health, blue for spirituality?
  • Once you have your map created, see whether there are any connections between the different branches. Maybe connect them as well?

DaVinci said it himself, “Everything is connected to everything else.” He used to scribble a page of paper to its fullest, drawing, writing and accessing different parts of his mind while working through ideas.

  • Now, put aside your full & colourful mind map. Leave that dream vacation alone for a day.
  • Tomorrow, when you have a slice of time, look it over again and see how it holds up.

St Barts Beach PeopleWhat did you learn from mind mapping? How did you find it different from list-making? Or are you already an avid mind-mapper – if so what do you like about the experience of creating the map?

We’d love to hear from you, please feel free to share your experience with mind mapping either here or by email or on our facebook page.

See you next week when we dig into the potential of right-hand & left-hand writing!

Take care till then,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.


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