Mindbloom makes a game of mind and life mapping

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Mindbloom is a free, online program and website designed around the concept of “life-mapping” or “mind-mapping”.

It offers a fun and easy way to set goals and take action, and offers eye candy rewards for completed actions and/or goals. Mindbloom sets itself apart from other programs or websites of its type in that it presents the concept as an interactive game experience as well as being a social networking tool.

There are tons of programs out there for mind mapping. These programs allow you to lay out your thoughts in graphics and text so that you can more easily see the flow of your thoughts, goals, actions, etc.

There are tons of ways to use them but the major issue I have always had with most of them is the learning curve to use them effectively, and the overwhelming amount of boredom they tend to instill in me.

Mindbloom solves that issue and brings some newer ideas to the forefront of the ‘mapping’ software community. It does this in at least three distinct ways by making the mapping experience into a game, offering visual rewards for success (and pick-me-ups or inspiration for those less than successful days), and creating a social networking web to help you along and share your experiences with others.

Mindbloom calls itself a game and is designed on the gaming concept and mentality. The basic concept is that your life is a ‘tree’ and you must take good care of the tree to see it grow and expand. Once you sign up for a completely free account, you’ll be given the option to follow a tutorial that will help you learn the basics of the Mindbloom system. Any avid gamer will tell you that it’s always a good idea to go through a tutorial at least once for any new game and Mindbloom is no exception.

Since Mindbloom is advanced and powerful, the step-by-step tutorial is absolutely invaluable to getting started as well as advancing through the ‘game’ itself. The tutorial is presented in a familiar format of an animated mascot (a light bulb/bee in this case) giving instructions and leading you through the most basic procedures of the core game experience. As you progress through the tutorial, the bee will offer you the chance to view various short instructional videos, as well as offering links to help pages for each step. This may not seem like a major advancement until you begin exploring the other mind-mapping programs out there. Most of them are either so simple (and almost useless) that they don’t need a tutorial, or they are extremely complex and rife with options without offering more than a line or two of helpful instructions on how to get the most out of the program. Mindbloom is, therefore, a great innovation in my opinion. Once you’ve gone through the tutorial’s basic training, you’ll then be offered the option to continue to a more advanced tutorial or jump in and start Mindblooming. If you choose to jump right in, you can always go back and pick up the advanced tutorial at any time.

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When you’ve got the basics down, that’s where the real fun of this ‘game’ begins. You’ll have learned that there are two basic ways to care for and grow your life tree. Just as in real life, your tree will require sunlight and rain to thrive and expand. Sunlight is obtained by reading, writing, and even posting inspirations. These can be anything from quotes from famous successful people, images of inspirational scenes either chosen by you or others in your network, and even relaxing and energizing music. Inspirations come in many different forms and you’ll need to explore more of the game itself to learn about all the different kinds. Rain, on the other hand, is representative of actions that you take to progress along your mapped out path of life in general as well as specific portions like career, relationships, and spirituality. Just like sunlight, there’s tons of different ways to get rain but they are all based on the concept of action.

Both the sunlight and the rain, once earned, will then reward you with cute and endearing animations that show the light shining on your tree, or the rain falling on it. This is followed by animated growth of the tree itself, which is pretty simple but amazingly satisfying at the same time. Taking the gaming approach to life and mind mapping makes the experience not only painless but actually fun. That’s not to say it will be everyone’s particular cup of tea but it sure was fun to me.

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The third feature that I found noteworthy about Mindbloom is that it has its own social network built in, that also interacts with existing ones. The social aspect is, in fact, entwined very closely with every other part of Mindbloom. For example, if you’re feeling a bit down today, you may have some trouble coming up with your own inspirations to gain sunlight. In that case, you can search for (or even request) inspirations from your friends on Facebook, or even just paw through the huge database of inspirations from random users of the Mindbloom game. Everything you do in the game can be recorded and announced, shared, with others in the Mindbloom community, and can also be routed for the same thing to outside networks like Facebook. After all, pain shared is pain divided while joy shared is joy multiplied. Getting others involved is a great way to get and stay motivated, as well as being a great resource for when you’re stuck for ideas or need help. Any question you might have, if it isn’t answered already in the tutorials or the robust help pages, can be answered by the community as well. It is a great way to surround yourself with positivity when, where, and how you need it the most.

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Overall, Mindbloom is a fun game type program that could really wind up being a major help in your life as well as providing entertainment. Remember as a kid, when you wouldn’t clean your room, Mom tried to make it into a game so it wouldn’t seem like work? Well Mindbloom is the cyber-mom of the 21st century and she knows some better games than “Rolled-up socks basketball.” Whatever your goals are, Mindbloom can help you get there and keep your spirits up, and could even help you make a lot of new friends along the way. It is a definite winner in my book.

Until next time, my friends.

[Thanks to reader Panzer for the tip about this software].

Get your Mindbloom on here.