Many years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Everest and all-round Kiwi hero, was explaining in a documentary that the key to climbing mountains was to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

I remember my reaction.

'Ed, that's kind of obvious.'

Now I realise that his advice was profound and we can use it whenever we are striving for a goal.

Here's why.

You'll have heard the advice.

We're supposed to create a vivid mental image of our goals. Picture getting the promotion, being called on stage to receive the award or taking possession of the new house or car. The more vivid the better, they say. 'Imagine how it will feel on the day. Imagine the smiles of your family and friends.'

That's pop psychology. It sounds plausible, but it will do more harm than good. There's a much more effective way to achieve your goals.

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