I teased a friend for buying NikeiD custom sneakers. “What’s the point?” I asked. Why pay extra to personalize a pair of running shoes? “Customized shoes won’t make you run any faster.”

Actually, they could. According to this study, when you put your personal stamp on something—be it a pen or a putter—you can significantly improve performance. Students did better on tests, and athletes performed better when they used items they had personalized to portray aspects of themselves.

“Even though participants did not expect any benefit, they threw customized darts more accurately, they came up with more anagrams using a customized pen, and they played a beer-coaster flipping game better with customized coasters. Across the studies, customization boosted performance by 25 percent.”

It is not about superstition or a belief that the product is lucky. When you make something your own, it becomes an extension of your identity and strengthens motivation. Make your mark on your equipment. Make it feel uniquely “you.”

I finally have an excuse to customize the bed linens I have always dreamed of from D. Porthault. No doubt I will sleep better.