Fortune cookies are true…so I now believe. Two days before our Friday December 2008 wedding, Korrel (now my wife) ate at a Chinese restaurant, where she received a fortune cookie that read: "A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you." The next day, on Thursday, she went out for Chinese again and her fortune cookie read: “The coming Friday will be an exciting time for you." Was this a coincidence or was a specific message brought by the Universe to my lovely bride-to-be?

The fortune cookie story doesn’t end here. Last night I shared my career ambitions, goals, and dreams for my life with my wife. I explained why I believe I have been blessed with a wife and son who I adore, a wonderful family, great friends, and a successful career. I explained to Korrel that I have achieved such riches because of my growing capacity to love, commitment to personal growth, dedication to my career, belief in my dreams, and most importantly, my ability to make the right choices at the right time. An hour after that discussion, at a Chinese restaurant, my fortune cookie read, “Life is a series of choices, today yours are good ones." I knew then, I had to write something.

I believe a successful life comes from the right choices at the right time, as well as the willingness to pursue the goals inherent in these choices. Robert Frost nailed the “choices” challenge in his poem The Road Less Traveled. In this poem, he saw the value of ending up at a “crossroads” in life.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could”

At this crossroad, we face two distinctly different paths, which have two equally distinct different outcomes. Perhaps, at this crossroad, we are brought to the biggest choice of our life: in which direction do we proceed? Do we take the path that is more familiar to us, the one that we can navigate in the dark—with our eyes closed; or do we take the path that is unknown, frightening, and strewn with obstacles and unpredictable outcomes.

The familiar path offers predictability and safety, but only a limited version of "success." However, the “road less traveled” is risky in nature, but has the possibility of ultimately changing your life. When you travel down the road less traveled, there is no turning back; life is forever changed and you can never return to the old life of safety and predictability. This risky path is where choices manifest into dreams, and dreams manifest into reality.

“Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference."

Paul Coelho, the author of “The Alchemist,” believes that we all have the ability to achieve our “personal legend,” which is the best possible version of ourselves: the person of our dreams. Mr. Coelho believes by pursuing your personal legend you have then chosen “the path God has chosen for you here on Earth.” It is a path toward the life you believe in, goals that you have chosen, and dreams that you know belong to you. Through difficult choices, a commitment to moral and ethical principals, the courage to see mistakes or bad outcomes as gifts, and the humility to not lose yourself in moments of success, one can achieve their “personal legend.”

Similar to taking the “road less traveled,” achieving one’s personal legend may come at a cost. Life consists of a series of “mini crossroads,” where good choices, despite one’s best intentions, can result in failure and disappointment. For those of us who are pursuing our personal legend, we know that life’s loftiest and most heartfelt goals can sometimes end in failure and disappointment; but still we persevere. By dedicating ourselves to the pursuit of our very best version of ourselves, we are able to transform our moments of disappointment, disillusionment, or embarrassment, into achieved goals and dreams.

The words of Robert Frost and Paul Coelho have inspired me to understand that because life is truly a series of choices, we can achieve our dreams. We all come into this imperfect world, in imperfect families, and as imperfect versions of ourselves. All of us have our stories of dysfunctional families, economic hardships, medical limitations, self esteem challenges, etc. God intended us to all be able, through conscious choices, to grow and develop into something special. Without committing to a path less traveled or path toward our personal legend, we live our life, at best, in mediocrity: never quite knowing how far we could have progressed, who we could have become, and what effect on the world we could have made.

It is through a series of choices and the perseverance to pursue the goals inherent in these choices that we achieve our God given potential. Choices bring us to dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Clinical Care Consultants
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Phone:(847) 749-0514
Fax (847) 749-2995
Rossr61@comcast.net
www.Rossr61.snappages.com
www.RossRosenbergTherapist.com

Since 1988, Ross has been an administrator, professional trainer, counselor/psychotherapist, and an administrator in the mental health, social service and/or child welfare fields.

Ross is an established Illinois based professional trainer. Some of Ross’s trainings include

Sex Addiction: from A to Z
Caught in the Web: Cybersex, Romance and Fantasy Addiction
The Continuum of Self: The Attraction between Codependents and Narcissists
Therapy in the 21st Century: Technology’s Influence on Clinical Practice

Over the span of his career, Ross has worked with individuals who struggle with substance abuse, addictions, and co-addictions (Codependency). Ross’s addiction work includes chemical addictions (drugs/alcohol) and process or behavior addictions (sexual addiction, Internet addictions, gambling addictions, and spending addictions. Ross’s addiction services include counseling or all types, assessments, and professional consultation and training. Ross in considered an expert in the field of Sex Addictions and Internet Addictions, for which he provides comprehensive counseling services, training, and consultation.

Ross is well known in the local community for his work with hard to reach and oppositional adolescents. Typical issues with his adolescent clients include ADD / ADHD, drugs/alcohol, school challenges, anger control, eating disorders, self-mutilation, communication problems, and family struggles. Ross's work with teens also includes a family/parent focus, whether it is coaching, counseling / psychotherapy, or support.

Ross's work spans problem type, culture, ethnicity, gender, socio economic status, and sexual orientation. Some areas that Ross specializes in include: Marriage/Marital Counseling, Addictions, Codependency (Co-Addictions), Depression, Anxiety, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), Challenging Teens, Grief and Bereavement, Trauma Survivors (PTSD), Marital and Family Conflict, and LGBTQ issues

Ross's counseling / psychotherapy work with Codependency has enabled his clients to achieve balance, mutuality, and feelings of respect and appreciation in their lives. Balancing the care of others with the equally important ability to care for oneself is the cornerstone of codependency counseling / psychotherapy. Ross’s Codependency services includes individual, family, couples and/or marital therapies.

Ross's work with adult survivors of trauma and abuse enables his clients to break free from lifelong self-destructive patterns. His healing approach addresses "original wounds" (trauma of the past) which, without resolution, perpetuate emotional pain, suffering, and unsatisfying and dysfunctional relationships. This type of trauma counseling / psychotherapy promotes positive/healthy relationships, a heightened sense of well-being, and feelings of safety, control and happiness.

Another service provided is counseling and coaching for clients with ADD/ADHD. Ross provides assessment, diagnostic and a full range of ADD/ADHD psychotherapeutic services. Ross's collaboration with family members, medical, school, and employment personnel, creates a greater opportunity for success in the treatment of this disorder. Other ADD/ADHD services include coaching that addresses the following challenges unique to this disorder: communication, organization and follow-through, relationship and family challenges, work demands, and school demands.

Grief, loss, and death and dying are difficult issues that Ross helps his clients work through. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, job, lifestyle, or one’s health, vitality and even life, Ross guides his clients through difficult and often heart-wrenching times. Embracing diversity / cultural competence has been a cornerstone of Ross's practice

Ross's counseling / psychotherapy style has been described as solution focused, analytical, and educational while also being warm, intuitive, healing, spiritual, and compassionate. Ross's spirituality and metaphysical understanding enables him to reach people with diverse religious and spiritual beliefs. According to Ross, "for every problem, there is a solution; and within a warm and respectful therapeutic relationship lies the power to overcome the most seemingly overwhelming obstacles."
I provide psychotherapy, evaluations (ADD, addictions/substance abuse), supervision, consultation, training, and business coaching. Some of my specialties include: challenging teens, parenting issues, substance abuse, addictions, codependency or co-addictions, ADD, adult survivors of childhood abuse or neglect, trauma survivors, depression and/or anxiety, and grief and bereavement. As an expert in the field of sex addiction and sex co-addiction, I provide a variety of professional services.