I would recommend that you don’t try this system until you have grown confidence using all the other systems and that you are able to create strong images in your head in under 4 seconds. If you can’t do that yet, don’t worry. With only a couple of weeks practice you will be able to, and when you can, return and have a go at one of the most powerful uses of the memory system I can imagine. And it’s fun too!
Mind mapping creates colors and images on a piece of paper which by there very nature are more memorable. They are also fantastic tools for being able to pull together information and cross-reference it, without the restrictions of the linear page.
That said, if you have lots of information on a page – for instance, if you were to create a mindmap of a whole book you were studying, you might miss something. This is where virtual mind mapping comes in. But it relies heavily on your ability to be creative with your mind.
It brings together shapes and rhymes – for the purpose of keeping track of how many keywords and branches there are; letters – for dates and specific number related information; story – which will allow groupings of keywords and access to new branches; and journey/place as a way of creating the branches of the mind map with information on each branch. And this is how it works.
You do not have a real world in which to work, though there is nothing wrong with using a real-world place as the reference. Begin with a blank space – I usually choose mine as white. It is infinite in all directions. I may drop in some sky for the fun of it.
You then need a town centre. One of the classic town squares is useful. You then add a central statue, the statue is of the title of the mind map. Make it big, make it colorful, make it funny. This is where it get clever. Each road or even alleyway that leads from the square corresponds to a branch of the mind map. This could obviously become confusing so there are a couple of extra tips that may help. At the entrance to the road or alleyway, you place an item which will describe the contents of that road – almost like a signpost. In the town square, you put a key object – I usually use the shape system – for how many roads there are that will leave the square. This number needs updating as you add more roads but it doesn’t take that much effort.
At the end of each road you put your next group of information. Do this using the story system – use keywords. Sometimes the items may have further sub-branches, in which case you should add a door to that item. You can use colored doors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, black, white or grey. Go through that door and into a room. In the room, you place your further keywords as the story. Once further branches are represented by further doors leading out of the room, and variable into gardens or even other worlds or imaginary towns.
Sometimes you might have information that on a mindmap would be represented with words written along the branch. In this case, you would put key items along the roads or in shops that you would place on the road. If there are additional details form them into story circles. Sometimes on a mindmap there are links from one branch item to another. In this case, there are a few methods that I use. Bridges, tunnels, telephones (where each end of the receiver ends at the linked destination) and teleport devices. Sorry about the last one, too much ‘Star Trek’! I make sure that there is a clear item that links to the other area of interest, often the same item as there was on the road that led from other branches or from the town square. It is important though that once the link is made that at the other end of the bridge, tunnel etc you ‘look back’ in your imagination so that you remember where you have just come from, and again place an item at the mouth of the tunnel to represent where you have come from, and logically where the tunnel could lead you to.
A couple of other tricks is to use logical types of building for holding specific information. For example, book references go in libraries; historical information goes into museums; I often put technical data into science labs; numbers that don’t have a reference to other things (such as dates) go into banks. Get a habit of linking such information.
This does admittedly sound very complex, but once you get the hang of it and establish your own rules systems it is surprisingly flexible, and most of all FUN. Revision of the material goes away from pouring over books for hours on end wondering if in fact any of it has gone in, and instead of wandering around your own town. I find now I can listen to lectures or other information and form these virtual mind maps at the same time. As you listen make sure that you form the images in the right places and review at the right intervals afterward. I recommend that you don’t try and DECODE whilst you review - that spends time working out what each image in your head means. Instead, the first couple of times through just remember the image alone, then later decode.