In my last 30-Day Experiment post, I talked about becoming a solutionist and overwhelming your obstacles with solutions. I described one way of tipping the scale in favor of solutions by habitually creating a 5-to-1 ratio (challenge yourself to come up with five potential solutions any time you see an obstacle).
In this post, I want to look at a way to blow the doors out on your solutionizing. Mind maps! (And if you’re not familiar with mind maps, fear not! There’s plenty of info below to get you rockin’ and rollin’ with it in no time.)
Your 30-Day Experiment: Do a solution mind map a day.
Just like developing a 5-to-1 habit, this experiment is aimed at training your brain’s solution muscles. People often have a tendency to be limited in their approach to problem solving. They come up with one or two solutions (if any) and leave it at that.
In reality, there are infinitely more ways to navigate around/over/through obstacles than most people recognize. Mind mapping is a great way to expand your awareness of the possibilities.
Why challenge yourself to explore solutions to a different problem every day for 30 days? Well, first, because the biggest thing stopping any of us from showing up as fully and making as big an impact as we can is our own perception of obstacles as impenetrable barriers. This experiment aims to start making those obstacles feel less solid.
And second, the more you do it, the more adept you become at it. Diving into an obstacle a day is a great way to practice when the stakes aren’t high, helping you recognize the different pieces of puzzle and giving you a perspective on which questions are most helpful, in what contexts.
To get you started, here’s a quick overview on mind mapping from Tony Buzan, the man who developed the technique.
(True confession – I don’t actually follow all his suggestions about using images, colors, curved lines, etc. – I call my version “stick man mind mapping.” Still, it seems to work for me. Experiment with it to see what works for you.)
Here’s a tutorial specifically aimed at using mind maps as a problem-solving tool.
Start the experiment by brainstorming as many obstacles standing in your way as you can think of. That includes obstacles in your career, in your relationships, in your health goals, financial goals, or any other area that comes to mind. (A great way to add to this is to look at an ideal world goal – finding passion in your career, for example – and imagine that you have committed 100% to pursuing it. That inner skeptic will likely come up with plenty of obstacles in short order).
You can keep adding to the list as they occur to you, but for now, pick one and start mind mapping. Rinse, wash, repeat for 30 days.
If your fancy is soundly tickled by all of this, you might enjoy more links on using mind mapping for problem-solving.
Mind Mapping (Wikipedia)
Mind Mapping in 8 Easy Steps (pdf file)
Mind map examples (Google image search)
If you decide to take this 30-Day Experiment on, keep us posted here on how it goes!
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