The Mind Map Habit, or any other habit

mind map habit - get out of the ferris wheelWhat happened today with you is most likely very similar to what you did one week ago. The reason for this is simple. You are a human being, and most of what we do is done because we made a ritual of doing that, on that day.
 
When you look at people, their past is a pretty good measure for what they will do in the future (or at least today). This repeated behaviour is what gives us stability and security. Yet, it also holds us back from experiencing new and exciting things.
 
Answer me this question. When you go to a restaurant that you’ve been to before… what will you eat there? Is it the same thing you ate last time (or very similar to what you had then)?
 
Of course, why would you take something very exciting and new… it might not be that nice and you would feel bad about what you paid for.
 
My wife and I had a habit (or game if you like) of doing this differently. We would order for each other. This way we never choose our own food and we had things that were different.
 
Another example… your place in meetings. Where do you sit? Always next to that one co-worker?
 
Or your breakfast?
 
Or the way you go to work?
 
Or the things you do on a Saturday or Sunday morning?
 
We are very much bound by our own rituals. Mark Twain said this:

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Doing things differently gives us a new way of looking at things.
 
And that is exactly the same with mind mapping.
 

The Mind Map Habit – Perspectives

You see, Tony Buzan says that a mind map is a visual representation of information using images, colours and keywords.
 
For me a mind map is a lot different. For me a mind map is a way of looking at the same information in a different manner. And exactly this other way of looking gives other insights, overview and ideas. That is why mind mapping is wonderful for problem solving and creative thinking. Or perhaps I need to say could be wonderful… You need to ‘risk’ using your information in a different manner.
 
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
 
Most people who learn more about mind mapping and see the value in using it won’t start to use it.
 
By now you probably are able to guess what the reason for this is… Indeed, habits. We need to change the way we work. And that is difficult, takes energy, is scary and is not something your brain likes to do.
 
But hey… I always tell people, if there is enough motivation to move forward, you will start moving.
 
Start to motivate yourself. I read a story of 2 women wanting to lose weight. They said that they wanted to lose 20 pounds (can’t remember the exact number, but this is a nice one). Their motivation was simple. The 20 pounds needed to be gone within one year.
 
If they would not be on their target weight… they had to eat a can of dog food!!!
 
Talk about motivation!
 
You can motivate yourself positively and negatively, the carrot or the stick.
 
I like to use the carrot whenever possible. Yet the stick is the one that helps most people to move forward easier.
 
So imagine this situation. You are working your normal hours. Yes, in your contract it says that the standard hours are 40 per week. But because of cutbacks you normally work about 45 hours. Because of this one additional hour per day, you miss your children who are already in bed when you get home.
 
Would you like to eat together with them and take them to bed? Many people would like that. Or they might want to be home to spend quality time with their spouse, hang out with friends, etc.
 
Anyway, there is something that you can do when you do your work in the normal 40 hours. That is what you can be motivated by.
 
Carrot: spend quality time with … (friends, spouse, children)
Stick: when you don’t you will alienate yourself from them and probably lose them forever.
 
You just pick which one motivates you the most (probably the stick).
 

Mind Map Habit – The Change

The point is this. You need to change some things in your work and how you work. I call this the Freedom Code. The system that gives you freedom in your work, studies, mind, etc.
 
One of the things you can start to do right now is start using mind maps. Create a new habit. Start your (working/study) day with the creation or usage of a mind map to get a good overview and sense of direction for that day.
 
It is that simple.
 
By the way, getting home on time doesn’t start at 15 minutes before you want to leave. It is a mindset that you enter at the beginning of the day (probably when you wake up already).
 
A mind map helps you because it can give direction (as I wrote just before). But it also helps you to create smarter overviews of information faster. This in turn helps you to get a better overview, insight and advantage over your information that you didn’t have before.
 
So my question for you is a simple one.
 
Write in the comments form below what will you change in your habits to improve your professional, academic or personal life?
 
Perhaps you can also let me know what the mind map habit is that you can start to incorporate in your life.