“In the 1980s, psychologists discovered that exposure to a word causes immediate and measurable changes in the ease with which many related words can be evoked.”
“Furthermore, the primed ideas have some ability to prime other ideas, although more weakly.”
Excerpt From: Kahneman, Daniel. “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” Macmillan, 2011.
Long story short, maybe Scott Adams’ metaphor as humans as meat robots is apt.
The fact that Steve Jobs wore the same clothes to work everyday, as a uniform, is an oft told story. The moral rationalizes why you should minimize decisions, because they come from the same reservoir as willpower. Replete with a tut-tut.
And now for the rest of the story…
What if he was also priming himself? He was diligent about his clothing selection. There was nothing haphazard about it. They clearly represented his ideal and ideals.
Wouldn’t wearing the same thing every day “prime” him to be consistent with his prior choices and constant in his performance?
One other thought, AFAIK, he didn’t do this until after he returned to Apple via Next. One great mystery is how did he go from the genius, but haphazard and destructive, behavior as the founder of Apple to the (more) even-keeled leader who willed both Pixar and iOS into being.
(With Pixar it was knowing when to leave well enough along. With Apple, the opposite)