My wife has been listening to a personal development guru who waxes philosophical about the powers of the subconscious mind and our ability to tap into the energy that’s all around us to manifest our wildest dreams. He claims it’s ours for the taking, if only we believe ourselves worthy of the gifts that lie just beyond our reach.
I don’t know if I buy all of this psychological mumbo-jumbo – especially when it comes to manifesting money, success and other desirable things – but I DO believe in the power of the subconscious mind to help us be more creative, connect the dots and leverage serendipity.
How mind mapping software helps us “manifest” ideas
Whether you believe that ideas come from the depths of your marvelous mind or exist somewhere in the ether, waiting to be captured, mind mapping software acts as a powerful “antenna” to help you surface, nurture and enhance your best thinking. It doesn’t just passively wait for ideas to spring forth from your brain to capture them. It actively draws them forth, helping your brain to surface, bigger, better ideas.
Each time you add a topic to a mind map, your brain jumps several steps ahead, imagining related ideas – which you can also add to it. Using its infinite canvas, you can pursue multiple lines of thinking and explore multiple perspectives or scenarios in as much depth as you want.
“Mining” your best ideas
In fact, creativity experts say that sticking with brainstorming for a longer period of time can help you unearth the most valuable ideas. Why? Because when you first start capturing ideas, they tend to be the ones that are top of mind. Usually, these aren’t very valuable. If you stick with it longer and use some creative ideation or lateral thinking exercises, you can dig deeper – plumbing deeper into your mind and activating your subconscious.
In another blog post, I compared the way this works with mining a seam of valuable minerals. It isn’t usually sitting on the surface, waiting to extracted. It’s buried up to several hundred feet below the surface, in rich, horizontal seams. Mining crews must remove or tunnel through the dirt above it – called overburden – to reach the rich deposits of minerals that lie below it.
In much the same way, you need to capture low-value ideas to make way for the really valuable ones that may be lurking at the periphery of your thinking. I’ve depicted this in a visual below.
Another useful way to look at the mind is to compare it to an iceberg. The subconscious mind is like the submerged part of the iceberg. It’s not visible above the waterline (our conscious level of thought), but it has a big influence on our thinking and our ability to be creative!
Fill up your mind with plenty of “raw material”
A side note: Filling your mind with a wide variety of input gives your subconscious mind more bits and pieces to deconstruct and recombine. It increases your odds of drawing on a deep reservoir of ideas and associations when you’re brainstorming with a mind map.
Mind mapping has another superpower that can help you be prodigiously creative: The power to refactor our ideas. You see, mind mapping software gives you an almost unlimited ability to arrange and rearrange the contents of your maps until they make the most sense to you. Each time you move a topic, you place it adjacent to a new constellation of ideas – which gives you the unique opportunity to view it from a new perspective. That, in turn, can help you generate additional ideas and insights.