Mind maps have been used by some of the greatest minds in history for centuries. Learning to use mind maps on a regular basis can vastly improve various capacities in your life and your business. Therefore, it is well worth your time to learn to create mind maps and use them effectively.

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind Mapping can be seen as act of identifying and naming our thoughts and ideas. In some cases this even includes our emotions as well. Once identified, you can arrange them in hierarchical classification. This is an interesting idea because they appear to be nonhierarchal, but they are actually arranged in a hierarchy form, which can be quite useful.

To make a mind map, you begin with a central topic, and then you move outward towards related topics. From those topics you can progress further into other related subtopics. Sometimes there are relationships between the subtopics, so you will find them cross referencing each other. Sometimes you will find these subcategories looping back into one another in a way that this is similar to how flow charts work. This ultimately allows you to hieratically arrange your content, but in such a way that you are able to better visualize it.

Mind maps help you to visually take in the ordering and classification of information, whether it is facts, data, or ideas that you are trying to break apart. A great way to think about a mind map is to think of it as a planetary system, the sun being the central point which is being orbited by planets. Each planet is also being orbited by its own moon. This quick visualization allows you to think about the information in a three-dimensional formation.

One thing that is interesting about mind maps is that they are very much aligned with what you would see if you could look into someone’s mind. The brain works in a similar fashion where one thought or memory is connected to another in a systematic system such as this. For example, if you were to see a clip of a superman movie that you saw as a child, you might connect that memory with a toy that you were playing with at the time you saw that, and because of this memory you are able to recall the name of the company that made that toy. Do you see? Our minds are programmed to work by relating information, which is probably why mind maps work so well.

mind mapping guide

If you look at the physiology of the human brain, you would see the center of the nerve cell, which branches out to dendrites and axons and so forth. In fact, this physiological system has actually served as the inspiration for many modern mind maps. The mind maps that we see nowadays are therefore reflective of this and other natural systems. Virtually all mind maps are very visual. The topics and subtopics are connected by lines. This creates a flow of information and visually shows the relationship between topics.

You have to realize that mind maps and mind mapping are not the same. The act of mind mapping is a creative act which can help you organize your thoughts and plan ahead. The act of mind mapping can help radically improve your memory and improve efficiency in a profound way. Mind maps are the end result of mind mapping.

The History of Mind Mapping

The act of mind mapping can actually be traced back to the 3rd century BC. The Ancient Greeks were the first known to use mind mapping for intellectual purposes. In fact, the technical term to describe mind mapping, taxonomy, is Greek. There are even references to mind mapping and taxonomies in the Bible. For instance, Adam naming the animals represents a type of taxonomy.

This type of taxonomic classification and organization of information is indeed a certain kind of mind map. The concept of mind mapping is a world-wide phenomenon. Mind maps have been found to have come out of Ancient Greece; they were in use all over Europe as well as in Asia. Mind maps have been found to be interconnected with various religions, the emergence of science, and the advancements of agriculture. Think of a family tree. A family tree is not exactly the same as a mind map, but conceptually they are very similar.

In the past, mind maps were generally drawn out by hand. People would often use circles, triangles, and other various shapes to represent the different tiers of information. Arrows and plane lines were, and still are, often used. These very plain symbols were used to collect, organize, and simplify complex information into a visual representation, or more specifically a mind map.

Over the centuries, mind maps have allowed people to better understand and recall information. As humans, we are very good at memorizing certain types of information, especially visual information. Nowadays, because of our technical advancements, putting together a mind map is incredibly easy. Today there are many mind mapping computer programs available, many of which you can get for free.

Mind maps will continue to evolve. As humans learn and advance intellectually, mind maps have become increasingly useful. Mind maps are great for organizing numbers, letters, words, ideas, concepts, and so on, so they are unlikely to go away any time soon. Mind maps are so visual in nature that they allow people who are visual thinkers to much better comprehend the material at hand as well as retain that information. Mind maps are also helpful to people who learn best through audible or graphical information as well since they help people to reinforce what they have learned.

mind map representation

Great Mind Mappers in History

Some of the smartest and most efficient people in history used mind maps regularly. This includes:

Porphyry of Tyros — This philosopher was one of the first known to use mind mapping in his teaching. This brings up a good point. If you are a teacher who is having a hard time getting certain things across to your students, try using a mind map. Porphyry of Tyros probably would have told you the same. He found that he could teach others a lot of information in a much quicker manner by using this tool.

Leonardo Da Vinci — This well known historical figure lived his life in a very efficient manner. He was known to be a painter, inventor, engineer, mathematician, writer, musician, architect, botanist, geologist, sculptor, anatomist, and much more. Da Vinci used mind maps for note taking. Primarily, he used these notes for his own personal advancements.

Instead of using mind maps to communicate concepts and ideas, he collected, organized, and used the information he gathered from their use. Obviously, this allowed Da Vinci to accomplish a lot in his lifetime, which is no surprise. Mind mapping allows us to more quickly get our minds around various concepts. It also allows people to break down content and reorganize information in a number of different ways for a number of different uses.

Albert Einstein — One of the most phenomenal, if not the most phenomenal, minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein was an avid user of mind maps. He rejected many types of linear, numerical, and even verbal and created ways of thinking. He used mind maps in many unconventional was and he used mind maps to generate unconventional ways of thinking. According to him, this is part of where his creative genius came from.

Much like Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo before him, Einstein believed that these types of tools are very useful in expanding the way that we view the world. He believed that these types of tools were more important in capturing our imagination than almost every other type of tool. They also allow us to visually explain things to other people in a way that is very simple to understand. When we have content that is organized and structured it is much easier to understand ourselves and to teach to other people. In fact, it pushes and even forces clarity in thinking.


Specifically, Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge because imagination is unlimited.” Not only do mind maps help you to unfold your imaginative ideas, but they help you to bottle them in such a way that you can understand it, spread it, teach it, share it, and use it. They also allow us to expand upon our thought processes so that we accomplish more.

Dr. Allan Collins — Dr. Collins is an American cognitive psychologist. He is known as one of the fathers of modern mind mapping. In fact, some people would say that he is the father of modern mind mapping because of his extensive commitment to publishing research about creativity, graphical thinking and learning, and so forth. Graphical thinking is thinking that is both visual and structured. This visual structure does not have to be artistic, although it is helpful when it is. According to Dr. Collins, graphical thinking can help us to push forward in creating greater technologies, producing better goods and services, and bringing about mathematical breakthroughs.

Dr. Richard Feynman — Dr. Feynman was an American Nobel Prize winning physicist. At a young age he realized that imagination, creativity, visualization, and the like were the most essential in bringing about breakthroughs. This is true. Working with mind maps can help people to eliminate problems and detonate ideas. One thing that is distinctive about mind maps is that they allow for more play than other tools. Mind maps are very flexible and because they are so visual you can play around with them more and use them in a very game-like fashion.

Tony Buzan — Educational consultant and modern English author, Tony Buzan, is an avid advocate for mind mapping. His belief is that even literate and well-educated individuals are restricted because that you are unable to use many of the conceptual thinking tools that are available, including mind maps.

Tony Buzan

There are many other famous, highly-talented, very creative, and vastly efficient characters in history that used mind maps on a regular basis, such as Darwin and Beethoven. Many great historical figures also shared the same views about using mind maps as some of the most credible scientists of the modern day. The creative aspects of mind mapping are often what are pointed out to be the most important by these highly intelligent individuals.

Facts & Figures about Mind Mapping

Many people do not know that Boeing Aircraft was actually created from a mind map. It is now one of the largest global manufacturers as well as one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors in the world. Even more interesting is that mind map that was use to craft Boeing was a shocking 25 feet long.

Mind mapping has been used for a long time. Even many of the ancient mind maps and others which have been around for quite some time remain in use to this day. As you can tell from the information above, mind maps continue to be very useful in the modern era and that is not likely to change anytime soon.