A major trait of highly effective people is a posture of intentionality—of living one’s life in alignment with one’s deepest values. Happy, productive people tend to know what they’re about, and they spend their time and energy on those things that are important to them. Consciously choosing how to live has at least two major benefits.

The first is self-evident: when we make progress in areas that are important to us, we feel fulfilled. The second major benefit of intentional living is a little less obvious: a sense of control. Psychology, philosophy, and common sense all tell us that human beings crave control over their own lives. When we believe we’re the captain of our own ship, we’re happier and more effective. And when we start to make more decisions about how we’re going to live, we feel like we’re in control. Because we are.

Don’t drift. Decide what’s important to you, and live accordingly.