If you buy a silver Honda, you start seeing silver Hondas everywhere. It’s not that there really are any more silver Hondas on the road, but this simple reality demonstrates the power of the mind to more readily notice whatever you’ve been thinking about most. And the more you think about innovation, the more you’ll do it.

Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor of psychology, demonstrated the power of attention by convening a group of 70-year-old men for a week. She put them in an environment that recreated life from 20 years prior, complete with 20-year-old magazines, music, and newspapers. After a week of this 20-year retro experience, the men grew visibly younger—not only in their attitudes and conversation but ...

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