When Mitch Albom learns that his beloved former teacher Morrie is dying, he decides to spend intentional time with him through his final days. During his visits, Morrie shares heartfelt messages about what he has learned about life. These chats are particularly meaningful because Morrie realizes that he has little time left on earth.
All of Morrie's lessons in his discussions with Mitch contribute to one overarching message: intentionally live each day to construct a truly meaningful life.
Morrie shares with Mitch that working solely to achieve status is pointless:
Mitch, if you're trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you're trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere.
Instead, he encourages Mitch—and therefore all of the readers of Albom's book—to focus on relationships with close friends and family. In his final days, Morrie still cultivates these relationships, drawing people to him even when his disease means that his body is failing him. In fact, Morrie believes that people should "devote [themselves] to loving others," not to serving their own desires and goals. He believes that developing a true sense of purpose is found in serving others and in having goals outside your own. Morrie also understands the burden in carrying around a load of regret, and he urges Mitch not to fall victim to this mental trap:
It’s not just other people we need to forgive. … We also need to forgive ourselves … for all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done. You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened.
Even in his final days, Morrie finds the courage to laugh and enjoy whatever time that remains. His final days are not filled with resentment but with love.
Morrie's guidelines for living the best possible life are particularly poignant because he realizes that he has few opportunities left to share all he has learned. Morrie demonstrates what he believes is the most important thing in life: "How to give out love and how to let it come in." In doing so, he provides a path for others to live their own lives with a greater sense of meaningful purpose.