Mitch sees himself as a success by a materialistic society but a failure according to Morrie's humanistic standards.
Mitch has been a member of the sports-crazed culture that equates success with overblown salaries, sports cars, women, and personal glory on the field. It is the very antithesis of the selfless, charitable, and loving philosophy that Morrie has brought to his family and students. Whereas Mitch's mainstream culture respects youth, sex, money, and short-lived glory, Morrie's culture cultivates lasting relationships not based on status symbols. Most importantly, Mitch's culture fears death, while Morrie accepts it as a necessary part of life.
After Mitch begins taking Morrie's lessons to heart, his relationship with his girlfriend improves, and they eventually marry. Mitch begins writing thoughtful prose instead of so much sports journalism. Mitch begins to work less and give back to family, friends, and community.
Mitch is not happy with his life as he knows it. However, Morrie asks him questions that get him contemplating the road that he had chosen in his life. Morrie asks him if he has someone in his life he loves, if he gives to his community, and does he have self-peace.
Once Mitch starts contemplating these things he realizes that he has not become the person that he had expected. He had chosen a different path. He tries to figure out what had happened to him.
Mitch is 37 and efficient. He writes articles about athletes. He has full days but he is not satisfied with his life. He asks Morrie to be his coach. (pages 33 & 34)