Jamie Nast's Portrait of John Wayne During First Mind Mapping WorkshopIn February of 1992 I was a participant in a 2-day Mind Mapping Workshop for the first time. It was taught by one of my colleagues Randy Raines. For many of the activities Randy had us apply a learning model to learn new skills that quite frankly most adults think of as impossible tasks. Drawing a portrait of a human face was one of those daunting undertakings.

I was shocked at how well I did considering I had never drawn anything close to this. With about 10 minutes of instruction we were left to draw for the next 50 minutes. I spent every spare minute and breaks to continue to draw — I was that engrossed in the process. Three or four more hours on my own and I was done. No one could believe I drew the portrait … and that’s the same response my Idea Mapping Workshop participants get from their friend, family and colleagues.

Let me be clear that learning to draw was probably not going to change my life significantly. However the ability to break through a learning hurdle became a significant analogy that I could apply to other learning situations. The Idea Mapping Workshop that I have now been teaching since 1992 contains 5-6 activities that are each very different, but can have similar outcomes as participants amaze themselves by learning skills they thought they could never master.

I’ve shared many portrait drawings in this blog from my Idea Mapping Workshop participants. If you would like to see more, search on “Portrait Drawing.”