Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "It is not length of life, but depth of life." Another quote that expresses the importance of living meaningfully is "Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well," said by Josh Billings. A quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that speaks of man's ability to endure if motivated is "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century American poet and essayist who, as a central figure of the American Transcendentalists, firmly believed that every individual could transcend the physical world into spiritual experience by way of intuition and free will. That he attached greater significance to one's accomplishments in life than to its length may very well have been influenced by his own experiences, namely the untimely losses of both his father and his own first wife, the former dying before the young Emerson's eighth birthday; the latter passing away at age 20.
Henry Wheeler Shaw, whose pseudonym was Josh Billings, was a 19th century American humorist. Shaw worked as an explorer, farmer, auctioneer and coal miner, before beginning to make his living as a writer in New York in 1858. Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher of the latter half of the 19th century, promulgated the possibility of achieving self-perfection by way of creative drive.