Nearly a decade ago, I dreamed that I stood on top of a hill holding three diamonds in my hand. A sidewalk went down from the hill with many steps. Suddenly, one of the diamonds fell from my hand. As though in slow motion, I watched it bounce down this sidewalk to the bottom and into the grass.

I fixed my gaze upon this diamond, hoping to recover it. I thought that if I focused my eyes upon it and the final resting place that I could easily recover it. Rapidly, I descended the same steps. I kept my eyes upon the exact spot, confident I would find it.

Upon arrival, I knelt and meticulously searched for the diamond in the grass. Much to my surprise, I could not find it. I did, however, find a few dollars which I picked up. After a long time, I gave up. Disappointment filled my heart and then the dream ended.

As I woke up, the Spirit of God began to speak to my heart. He said that the three diamonds represent the past, the present and the future. Each is like a precious jewel and should be guarded as valuable treasure.

The dropped diamond represented my past. At the time of the dream I was 55 and in the middle of a great financial crisis. My business had been in the real estate industry for 30 years. I had experienced great success but now, “The Great Recession” of 2008 ravaged our business as well as nearly all of my contemporaries.

This recession had resulted in a catastrophic loss in my business. I faced bankruptcy. Regret and sorrow filled my heart from a business perspective. Regret has a loud voice and repeatedly asked, “Why had you been so foolish?” This question filled my heart daily. I wished for the ability to turn back the clock and make other choices. Sadly, I could not go back in time.

The Spirit continued to speak to my heart regarding my reaction to this tragic loss. I had been consumed by an attempt to recover my losses. Just as in the dream, I meticulously searched for an escape route hoping to “recover my lost diamond” (change the past). This resulted in a meager recovery of just a few dollars.

As the Spirit spoke to my heart about the remaining two diamonds in my hand – my present and my future – He warned me that if I continued my desperate hunt for what I had lost, that it would result in losing the remaining two diamonds. Regret has power and can last for years and can ruin our future.

This warning woke me up and altered my attitude and actions. The Holy Spirit then spoke to me that “today” is the day that ten years from now, I may wish to go back to. In short, by discontinuing my attempt to alter my past, I could prevent my present from becoming another regretful past.

From that day onward, I began to look at what I did possess and to the future. I realized that although we had lost nearly everything (99.5%), no one could take away my experience, my knowledge, my business relationships or the wisdom I had gained from God. I began to employ these to build my business again.

It is now a decade later. This abrupt alteration of my focus permitted me to create new opportunities. The “Present Diamond” I possessed in my hand has now become my history of the past 10 years. Business has again been good and we have recovered about 60% of what we had lost. That is a dramatic recovery.

Today, I approach life from an entirely different perspective. Whenever I face disappointment or momentary failure, I stop trying to alter the mistake and simply look at what I have in the present and the potential future and seek to discover how to be successful with what I have.

Regret is debilitating. It robs our present and our future if we do not alter our attitudes and perspectives. I am grateful to my Savior Jesus Christ for speaking to my heart by His Spirit Who spoke a life-altering and life-giving message to me in the midst of my crisis.

We all possess a present and a future. Turn your attention away from your failures. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you in the present and into the future and will create a “new past” for you. Ten years from now, you can have a decade-long past not filled with regret.