Basically, what the ‘Whole Brain Thinking’ theory states is that human beings think in the following four ways:

Logical — Focuses on the facts and the bottom line

Creative — Sees the big picture and likes to have fun

Practical — Provides organization and follow through

Relational — Tunes in to his/her own and other’s feelings

Some people are more logical, and some are more creative. Some people tend to be more practical, while others tend to rely on their feelings. However, all of us have the ability to think in each of these four different ways, although sometimes we tend to think in one way over another. All of these forms of thinking work in sync with one another.

Logical thinking is about focusing on the bottom line. It is the type of thinking that helps us to rationalize things like if a=b and b=c, the ‘a’ must equal ‘c’ as well. Creative thinking allows us to see the bigger picture of things. It also is the side of us that allows us to play and have fun.

The relational side to our thinking allows us to tune into our emotions as well as those of others. This also has to do with how we deal with both tangible and intangible things in the world around us. So, through this way of thinking we can relate to various ideas and concepts in very much the same way as we relate to other people. Most importantly, practical thinking allows us to organize and then take action.

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One of the reasons why mind maps are so special is that they tap into all of these forms of thought. Mind mapping allows you to see how various concepts and ideas fit together in a logical manner, for example. There is also a very visual element to mind maps which allow you to see ‘the entire picture’ at a glance, which taps into the creative side to our thinking. In addition to this, mind mapping allows us to formulate ideas and play around with concepts. So, it appeals to our creative side in that way as well.

Our relational thinking is also what allows us to see the relationships between objects and concepts, which has already been established as a vital part of the process of mind mapping. Seeing these relationships helps us to organize our thoughts and expand upon our ideas in a logical way. Relational thinking also applies that as we are mapping things out. A lot of what we write out relates to how we feel about one thing or another as our creative mind is pumping out ideas. Practical reasoning is what drives us to organize the information in a mind map so that we can turn it into a useable form and take action.

using mind maps to think

As you may realize, all of these forms of thinking work both in concert with one another and to a certain extent are interconnected with one another. Mind mapping allows us to open up each of these forms of thought and allows them to work in greater harmony with one another. All of these lines of thought are tapped into when someone is reviewing the information on a mind map as well, which is one of the reasons why mind maps are so easy to learn from. It allows the whole brain to become engage. In other words, it allows for whole brain thinking.

All of the different pieces of what it is to be human can be represented in a mind map. Mind maps are designed this way. They are designed to be used in all of these different ways so that any type of goal can be accomplished through them. The fact that they are designed to encompass different forms of thinking allows you to think on a much higher scale than you normally would otherwise.

If you have never used a mind map, you should try it out right now. Simply get out a piece of paper, and begin your own journey by experiencing this for yourself. This way you know from experience what a mind map can do for you before moving forward. There is really an infinite amount of ways that this form of planning and deciphering of information can help you to improve upon your business, your relationships, and your life.

Advantages of Using Mind Maps

So, specifically, what are the advantages to using mind maps? First of all, they are more compatible with the brain than other tools. In other words, the way that mind maps work is very compatible in the way that we think as humans. Humans have a need for balance and organization and mind maps provide us a way of accomplishing this. They appeal to our fun and creative sides as well. Also, the way in which humans solve big problems is to either chip away at them a little at a time or by taking small steps to accomplish big tasks. Mind maps allow us to do all of this by encouraging how we naturally think.

Mind maps also appeal to the senses. This is because you are able to become more engaged with them than you would with most other types of tools. So, they have a way of ‘coming to life’ even though they are essentially just notes on paper. They also balance the brain and remove any blocks that disallow different parts of our brain to work in balance with one another.

thinking girl photo

Other advantages of using mind maps over other types of tools are that they clearly show associations, enhance creativity, and make it easier and faster to take and review notes. One of the reasons for this is because mind mapping is a way to record information in creative and visual contexts. For example, you can use various shapes and colors to represent different categories or levels. This allows information to be quickly understood, sometimes even at a glance. This is a fun, creative, and visual type of learning. Any teacher will tell you that the brain is most receptive when information is presented in fun, creative, and visual ways. That is the main reason why mind maps make incredible learning tools.

Disadvantages of Using Mind Maps

There are a few disadvantages to using mind maps as well. For instance, sometimes mind maps cause a person to think in too simplistically. So, sometimes you have to step back and take a bird’s eye view of the information to make it make sense. In other words, when you are working with a mind map, sometimes you are working on things at such a small scale that you cannot see the bigger picture.

Another disadvantage to using mind maps is that they sometimes take more time to draw out if you are dealing with a complex problem. Again, this is because with mind maps you begin working at such a small scale. Complex problems, therefore, usually call for more than one mind map or an extensive one, which may not be worth your time and energy. Just think of the one that was created for Boeing Aircraft. It ended up being 25 feet long. In this case, it was well worth it, however.

Finally, some people have trouble learning to use mind maps. There are people who don’t feel that they would use it enough to take the time to learn how to do it. That is fine, although most people can pick this up rather easily. When they do, they usually find that it helps them immensely.

Sometimes people just get overwhelmed by the software as well. Although computerized mind mapping programs have their advantages, you don’t always need all of these extra features to create an effective mind map. This is especially true if you are only trying to plan or break apart problems for your own personal needs. There is nothing wrong with just scribbling your ideas out on paper to use for your own needs, or creating a mind map on some poster board in order to share your ideas with everyone else.

The Advantages Outweigh the Disadvantages

At times it really isn’t worth the time and effort to use mind maps, especially if there are other tools that work better for your line of work or your style of planning. Mind maps really do hold a lot of advantages over other forms of planning and brainstorming tools, however. In fact, the advantages of using mind maps greatly outweigh the disadvantages in most cases. They truly do help you to think smarter, and help you to communicate smarter with other people too. Furthermore, the final outcome of a mind-mapping session is usually far superior to the outcomes of other similar types of activities.

women learning mind maps

Mind mapping not only helps you to brainstorm and come up with new ideas quickly, but it opens up your mind so that it works in an optimal way. As you are brainstorming you are recording your ideas. Plus, after you are done, you can go back and edit or reorganize the information as much as you like. Finally, when all of this is done a you have a communicable compilation of facts and ideas that you can use to demonstrate your plans, share ideas, and even teach others with.