I was 9 years old. I had managed to write a little piece of software on our Sharp MZ-800 that allowed me to make a little man walk across the screen.
For a minute my parents must’ve thought they had brought a whizz-kid into the world. Soon my attention returned to fishing, ditch jumping, and looking for lapwing eggs.
Now, writing that piece of software was not easy. I was completely stumped, trying to move the little man with my cursor. I stared at my screen for hours and days, I pondered and experimented.
Until I just let it go. A few days later, I was staring at my float without a care in the world. And it came to me. The logical connection. The solution.
So that was it, the rod was whipped out of the water and I jumped on my bike. At home, I cranked up the Sharp and successfully made the change. The little man was walking!
The incubation effect. Completely distancing yourself from something brings new insights. The longer the incubation period, the more it contributes to creative performance.