In most types of mining, the valuable mineral you’re after isn’t just sitting on top of the ground, waiting for you to pick it up. Usually it lies under a layer of “overburden” – dirt or other useless material that must be removed in order to reveal the seam of rich, valuable minerals.
Mining our very best ideas is similar in many respects.
Mining for mental “gold”
When we first start brainstorming – alone or in a group – the first ideas that emerge are the ones that are top of mind. These ideas usually are not our most creative ones. In order to access the “gold” – the really valuable ideas that usually lie at the periphery of our thinking, we need some way to record and set aside the mental overburden to make room for the high-value ideas to emerge.
If we don’t have a way to do this, or if we stop after brainstorming a handful of pretty good ideas, we’ll never get to the much richer seams of priceless ideas that lie deeper within the recesses of our incredible brain.
Not surprisingly, mind mapping is an awesome tool for dealing with these initial, lower-value ideas in a structured way. It gives us a place to record them for future reference, but more importantly it enables us to set them aside to make way for the more valuable ideas at the edge of our thinking to emerge.
Refining your best ideas
In addition, as we brainstorm and record these high-value ideas, mind mapping gives us an organized way to “refine” them – in much the same way that many types of raw minerals must be processed to remove impurities and concentrate them, which significantly increases their value.
What’s been your experience? Do you find that mind mapping enables you to tap into the deeper seams of your mind to uncover more valuable ideas?