Designs, ideas, writing, or whatever your art is - likely moves through many iterations. A common trope is to see these iterations as crumpled paper thrown in a wastebasket overflowing with past approaches.
But this physical image is a mismatch from what happens in the creative mind. The concepts we don’t use are not forgotten; they remain and allow us to understand our work.
Each former iteration of work has some learning in it; it becomes like a broken piece of glass, which instead of throwing out, is placed into a knowledge mosaic.
The memories of what we don’t do give us confidence in the work we choose to do.