How to convert Text to Mind Map
Converting text to mind map assists the learning process and encourages new ways of thinking. What can you summarize in a mind map? Anything! Examples might be books, magazines, articles, websites, blog posts or your own personal writing.
If this is a new concept to you, after reading this blog post you will be able to convert text to mind map and also see how easy it is to do the reverse – create and plan your own writing from a mind map.
Taking a section of text and exploring the key points I have reproduced the essence of the message within the text as I personally see it. Doing this helps you to drink in the ideas and advice in order to recall it and more importantly to retain it. I have kept illustrations to a minimum here to focus on the conversion of text to mindmap and have selected key concepts adding a few extra personal thoughts.
The text selected for the example comes from a wonderful book by Richard Carlson called “Stop thinking and Start Living” (ISBN 0722535473)
Here is the text:
“When you feel bad, you will have the tendency to come up with a theory as to why you feel the way you do. Without knowing the actual cause, it makes sense to create a reason. As long as you can create reasons for your depression – your marital status, your job, your children, your genes, your financial situation, your future, and so forth – you can maintain the false hope that things will get better when…But you can probably see that, in actuality, this is not true. The mindset that says ‘Life will be better when…’ will create further conditions that must be met as soon as the initial conditions are satisfied. You need only to look at the countless times in your life that you received what you wanted – and happiness still eluded you – to realize that changing your circumstances isn’t the answer to your problems. If it were, you’d already be happy! You wanted to graduate, you graduated. You wanted a mate, you got one. You wanted a pet, you got one. You wanted a pay-cheque, you got one. And so on. Tens of thousands of times in your life you got exactly what you wanted and yet you’re still unhappy!
The solution is to have the humility to admit that all along you have been creating your own pain through your own thinking. Don’t worry; almost everyone else is doing the same thing. The good news is that as soon as you see that this is true, you’ll be on your way to a far better life. No matter how depressed you have been, or how long you have been depressed, the moment you can see that it’s only your thinking that is holding your depression in place, you’re on your way to freedom.”
How to extract words from a section of text to create a mind map:
Methods for extracting keywords include highlighting the text, pencil circling key ideas or simply building a mindmap as you read. A great technique is to read through the text once then re-read it looking for main points and keywords; look for important themes as your main branches and consider sub-branches to expand the key ideas. You can choose whether to keep keywords to a minimum as triggers for recall or to explore in greater depth by adding more detail.
As you create your mindmap other words and branches are likely to be added especially if you are exploring a subject and looking for new ideas from an initial starting point or adding in your own words, experiences and knowledge. If however you are trying to memorise from a specific piece of text you may wish to extract keywords solely from the text rather than adding further words. It really depends on the outcome you seek and the reasons you have for summarising the text and what works best for you personally.
If mindmapping a book you might wish to create a mind map for each chapter plus an overview mind map of the entire book. You can quickly see the benefits of the reverse scenario should you be planning to write your own book.
Keep in mind the simple yet very effective 5W 1H method when converting text to mind map: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? These are brilliant questions to clarify what you are reading and help to highlight important issues. You instinctively look to get answers to these questions already when reading or learning, so why not hone in directly? Even when not mindmapping, these questions help you grasp information and tame it.
In the overview below I have highlighted the main points in the text. When creating the mind map, I built in more detail to explore the concepts further in order to clarify my thoughts:
Why create a mind map from text?
Creating a mind map helps consolidate learning and expand thinking. It assists you in digesting information, retaining it and exploring new concepts and topics in your own unique way.
After you have transferred text to mindmap several times you quickly get a feel for extracting key points whenever you read and you start to think in mindmap form (and 5W 1H form!) creating links and associations, looking and reading with questions in your mind such as:
“What is the message here?”
“What are the main points?”
“What is this really about?”
“What do I wish to retain?”
“Where is the lesson here?”
“If I were to summarise what I have read in a couple of words – what is being said?”
Keeping journals & mind maps
Keeping a physical file of the mind maps you have created gives you a reference folder for revisiting. Personally, I also keep a folder of inspiring mind maps to learn from that other people have created and shared.
I recall a number of years back that on reading “Stop Thinking & Start Living” the text I’ve mindmapped here resonated deeply with me – there were many other pieces within the book that did the same Creating a mindmap is a great way to investigate the reasons. Why was this piece of text so important? What was it that was so special about it? How come this section jumped out at me? Top left of the mindmap I have added a two word prompt to recall the essence of the text and the advice it contains – “Question Thinking”. This method of chunking down to a simplified prompt helps enormously in a similar way to using acronyms. In fact, on hindsight I could have named this mindmap “Question Thinking”
A great tip is to keep a journal of inspiring quotes and writing by recording the moments when something resonates with you so that you can revisit and contemplate the writing. Mindmapping quotes is also a useful method for summarising and even kick-starting your own writing.
Here is a quick example:
“When walking or resting in nature, honour that realm by being there fully. Be still. Look. Listen.” Eckhart Tolle
Simple mind map summary:
Ok, so I’ve created a mind map from text – now what?
Having created a mindmap from text you can revisit it to consolidate your knowledge or simply use it once to digest information – the act of writing and summarising creates greater meaning and understanding. If you revisit the text that you have created the mindmap from you will see for yourself that you instantly have a greater appreciation and comprehension of the writing having mind mapped it out.
Reversing the process
A reversal of the text to mind map process will also prove useful: if you notice a mind map by someone else that resonates with you and you wish to explore it further, try writing from the mind map and in your own words investigate and create from it. This gives you a feel for writing from mind maps and experience in planning outlines and structuring content. Or, better still, simply create your own mind map and start writing in your own words!
Experimenting with text to mind map
The best way to test this further is to simply jump in and create mindmaps from various selections of text. Try revisiting your own writing and mindmapping it. Try books, magazines, websites & blog posts or any other form of study material you may wish to learn from and compile a mind map from the text.
I hope this post has helped you see how easy it is to convert from text to mindmap and vice versa.
Here is a quick summary to recap:
How to convert Text to Mind Map
1 Read through the text
2 Reread and consider 5W 1H
3 Extract keywords for main branches
4 Expand key points to create sub-branches
5 Add your own ideas should you wish
6 Add illustrations if necessary
7 Review mind map and revisit text to check coverage
8 Contemplate, consolidate, retain & if applicable memorise
9 Store your mind map for revisiting
10 Share it if you think it might help others!
Examples of text to mind map in action:
Check also the Mind Map Directories in the Links section
Plus the Mind Map Art Website
How to Make a Mind Map at WikIT (The Mindmapping Wiki)
Online Text to Mind Map resources:
Suggestions from Roy Grubb of Topicscape
Thanks Roy (Twitter @roygrubb)