The Ultimate Business Software Mind Mapping



It’s 40 years since Reilly first stumbled across mind mapping, the ultimate business software.

And like so many great discoveries in life he’d failed utterly to recognize the diamond in the dust at that time. Churchill was surely on the money when he quipped that ‘men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened.’

Reilly was doing Commerce in UCG and his cousin, Joey Costello, was in his first year in secondary schools in the Jes. Each day they’d have lunch at Reilly’s mother’s house and they’d review what was happening on their respective days.

On this particular day, Joey was drawing squiggles all over his homework book as if they were going out of fashion.

‘What are you messing with there Joey? Shouldn’t you be doing your ecker? (Galway slang for homework)

‘I am Reilly.

I’m using this new approach to learning that enables me to get my ecker done in half the time, with much better accuracy and creativity, and with much less stress.

‘What are you talking about Joey? You’ll never pass an exam in your life drawing doodles. What amadán (Irish for idiot) of a teacher filled your head up with this seafóid? (Irish for nonsense as opposed to seafood).

‘It’s our new maths and commerce teacher, Mr. Ó Céidigh. He spent the summer in Eastern Europe studying various forums of accelerated learning and they really work.

This one’s called mind mapping.

‘Joey. Ecker is meant to be difficult. If it isn’t hurting you it’s not real ecker. And the same applies to learning. It’s meant to be hard work. You tell Mr. O Céidigh from me that you can’t accelerate learning. If there’s no blood there’s no learning.’

Whatever Reillys’ misgivings on the efficacy of mind maps, Joey would go on to become a consultant anaesthetist and Pádraig O Céidigh would go on to become the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.

It’s instructive too that Padraig’s business plan for that award was presented on a one-page mind map. Drawn in blue fountain pen ink.

Although arriving late to the mind map party, Reilly had the pleasure to meet Dr. Tony Buzan, the Daddy of mind mapping, at a session in Dublin. By that time he had become world-famous through his iconic TV programs on the BBC: ‘Use Your Head’ and ‘Use Your Brain.’ At the session, Buzan shared the origins, applications, and techniques of mind mapping. Reilly has been using and applying them ever since.



Although mankind has been mind mapping since prehistoric man first scrawled images in caves it wasn’t until 1970 that Buzan coined the term. And like so many great discoveries it was conceived out of frustration.

It all began when…

Tony was a psychology and maths student at the University of British Columbia.

He was frustrated with the amount of time it was taking him to take notes. Annoyingly, he also began to observe that fellow students who doodled on their notes seemed to do better in their exams.

And it wasn’t as if the doodles were logical, orderly, and neat. On the contrary, they seemed haphazard, random, and colorful.

To Buzan, whose mother described him as ‘extremely logical and literal-minded with extraordinarily exact memory,’ his curiosity was piqued. It began a lifelong journey into the workings of the human brain that would culminate in a technique that is now successfully used by over 200 million people worldwide.



‘Mind Mapping is a powerful skill that, once learned, will revolutionize your business practice and the way in which you work. Why is it so powerful? Because creating a Mind Map requires ‘whole-brain’ synergetic thinking, a process that reflects the explosive nature of the neurons zapping across your brain in search of new connections during the process of thinking.

‘Put more simply, a Mind Map allows your brain to function like some vast pinball machine with billions of silver balls whizzing at the speed of light from flipper to flipper. Your brain does not think linearly or sequentially like a computer; it thinks multilaterally, ‘radiantly’.

‘When you create a Mind Map the branches grow outwards from the central image to form another level of sub-branches, encouraging you to create more ideas out of each thought you add – just as your brain does. And because all the ideas on Mind Maps are linked to each other, your brain is able to make great leaps of understanding and imagination through association.

‘Mind Maps are the ultimate thinking tool to unlock your brainpower; they reflect the internal Mind Maps of your brain. If you have lost sight of your organizational goals, or your bigger business picture has become blurred, drawing a Mind Map will provide an overview of the situation that will bring clarity and potential to the forefront.

So said the late Dr. Buzan in the introduction to his book ‘Mind Maps for Business.’



Its applications and benefits are myriad. Like Joey, you can use them to ace your exams, or like Pádraig, you can use them to plan the growth of a winning business. Reilly once taught Miriam O’Callaghan to mind map a TV interview.

She now uses them on all occasions in that they reassure her that she’ll never forget her interviewees’ names or the key points she wants to address in the interview. You can even use a mind map to seduce your lover but you’ll have to sign up to Smácht Mor on Friday, July 22 to learn that.



1. Get a blank sheet of paper. The bigger the better. Although it’s more than possible to do a mind map on the back of a cigarette box more space allows for more flow.

2. Use the page landscape as opposed to portrait. Once again, the mind responds better to landscape.

3. Start in the middle of the blank page with the issue or topic you wish to develop. It’s fine to simply write it, or type it if using a device. It’s preferable however to use an image, even if you can’t draw. Your brain accesses the power of images infinitely more so than words.

4. Develop the central theme with a network of branches radiating out from the center. Make these branches curved in shape as your brain too, seems to like curves.

5. Use colours. Invest in a few decent coloured pens. Your brain will reward you in spades.

6. Repeat the process with a series of smaller branches, or twigs, for the sub-topics.

7. Avoid writing sentences. Use key words. This is a key success factor of successful mind maps. A key finding of Buzan’s was that your brain operates in short spurts. It will respond like projectile vomit if you use key words.

If however, you default to writing sentences your brain becomes bored very quickly and disengages and disconnects you from your natural source of creativity.



All you need to unleash the almost infinite potential of your mind is a pen and a blank sheet of paper. By all means, you can upgrade and use any one of a number of more elaborate software applications. Reilly uses a free app called SimpleMind. On the other hand, if you are organising a substantial project you may consider investing in more sophisticated technology. Mary Davis organised the Special Olympics quite brilliantly using mind mapping technology.



Your brain is your most powerful resource and you’ve heard the research say that we use as little as 10% of its capacity. Capitalise on this with the use of mind mapping.



‘Most of us now live in an ‘information democracy’ … But while we’ve gone a long way towards optimising how we use information, we haven’t yet done the same for knowledge … ‘Mind-Mapping’ software can also be used as a digital ‘blank slate’ to help connect and synthesise ideas and data – and ultimately create new knowledge … and mental models to help people mine and assess the value of all that information.’

Bill Gates. Founder of Microsoft



Would you continue using a paraffin lamp when you have electricity in your home? Using your brain without mind mapping is tantamount to reading with a paraffin lamp.



Learn to mind map real business scenarios such as strategic planning and project management at Smácht Mor on Friday, July 22nd.

Please go to the Smacht Mor Event for further details.

Sincere congratulations to one great Smácht family who celebrated worthy achievements in the last week.

Declan and Mark Molloy from Molloy’s Artisan Bakery in Roscommon celebrated 100 years in business. Molloy’s is one of the finest bakeries in Ireland and four generations of Molloy’s – Barry, Declan, Mark, Max, and Oscar – were present to celebrate the occasion with customers and staff.

In addition, the family also had another notable celebration. In 1951 Barry Molloy captained Roscommon to win the All Ireland Minor Football Championship. Last Friday, his grandson, Cian Molloy, won an All Ireland minor medal with Galway. What a weekend! What a century! What a family!

And also, Charlie Cox, a nephew of Smácht Cara Margaret Cox, was also on the winning Galway team, scoring a wonderful point close to the end of the match.

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