Tony Buzan tells Catherine Rhea Roy the mind map is a picture outside his head of what is inside his head

As I went through the list of questions I had prepared for the mind-mapping genius Tony Buzan, I struck them off one by one. “You should never cross it out,” he said with a benign smile. “When you cross it out it means that you are done with it and you never want to look at it again. But that's not we are doing. It is about building your memory and feeding your brain. If you strike it out your brain is automatically going to shut it out and it's going to be forgotten and that goes against the fundamentals of learning, doesn't it?”

“Were you a geek in school?” I asked him, “No, in fact I was an athlete, a dancer, an intellectual delinquent, quite a good student but not at the top of my class,” said the sixty something year old, who dredged up details like it was last season.

Tony Buzan warmed up to the concept of mapping his mind over a long period of time. The effectiveness of the mind map in all senses of a person's development and progress surprised Tony and he decided to share it with the world.

“I used to take formal notes in lines of blue, and underline the key words in red and I realised I needed only the key words and the idea. Then to bring in connections I drew arrows and put in images and codes. It was a picture outside my head of what was inside my head — mind map is the language my brain spoke,” explains Buzan who was in the city for a workshop on mind mapping.

If toasters and alarm clocks can come with operation manuals, Tony Buzan set about creating one for our brain, teaching us how to use our brain to its full potential. “Children are trained to think linearly instead of imaginatively, they are taught to read slowly, and carefully, and are discouraged from day dreaming. They are trained to reduce the use and capacity of their brain.”

The global perception of the intelligent student, is a pale, weak child, with thick glasses, and whose best friend is the computer. The fact is that top students tend to be well rounded Renaissance children who are interested in everything.

Mind maps have penetrated every sphere of activity where the brain needs to be active, which goes beyond academics and finds itself useful at corporate meetings, and planning. “You can use it for your weekly team meetings, goal setting, you save paper, it is a fun exercise, and in the long run you find you are more productive and efficient,” explains Buzan, who has helped several corporate firms get their act together using mind maps.

According to Buzan there is no age to start drawing mind maps, “In fact a cluttered mind map is much better than neat lines on a page. The cluttered mind map is your first draft, which you will have to restructure.” But now Buzan has launched his latest software, iMindMap, which weeds out all this clutter on its own, “The mind mapping software allows you to mind map on screen. You also have the option of converting these mind maps into PDF files or incorporating them with Powerpoint presentations.”

The mind map was created initially as a memory device and subsequently as a multi-use device.

“It is a memory device, a creating tool, helps in problem solving and project management – the possibilities of mind mapping is endless. Buzan's latest mind mapping software is available for free download on www.thinkbuzan.com.

Keywords: brain mapping