It shows considerable wisdom to know what you want in life.

P.D. James

English novelist Phyllis Dorothy James, writing as P.D. James, introduced Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh in her 1962 debut novel “Cover Her Face.” This insightful observation by a secondary character comes at the end of “The Private Patient,” the 14th and final novel in James’ popular series, published nearly half a century later in 2008. The full quote notes that it takes wisdom to determine what you want, “and then to direct all your energies towards getting it.” James could very well have been reflecting on her own lengthy career as a successful novelist when she penned this scene, which offers the reminder that achieving a happy life requires both thoughtful contemplation and focused, sustained action.