Artists and designers often say that when you use a fresh pair of ears and/or eyes to examine your work again, things can appear to be completely different from how you remember them (both in a positive or negative way). Why?

The brain mixes up reality and imagination. When writing songs for example, I can get totally immersed in what I am creating, and after a while my brain probably hears what it wants to hear, which could deviate somewhat from what my instruments produce. Your brain added context.

Listening to it again the next morning with the imaginative context, can be a rude awakening… This is a similar effect as the “Curse of Knowledge”, which says that experts find it so hard to explain something to an audience that misses their mental frame of reference.

With first versions of presentation, I almost always try to avoid sending things out “hot from the oven”, instead sleep on it one night, and use those fresh eyes as a sanity check.

Cover image by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

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