by Neil Jenman

Article written and provided by Neil Jenman from Jenman.com.au . To see the original source of this article please click here. https://jenman.com.au/learning-from-lockdown/. Neil Jenman is Australia’s trusted consumer crusader. He can support you, all the way, from choosing an agent who will get you the highest price guaranteed to when your removalist comes! You get an unprecedented level of total support. All for free. To find out more visit jenman.com.au

Reading time: Apx 11 minutes

Something wonderful happened to me on the weekend. In a moment, I will share it with you because, I’d like something wonderful to happen to you too.

One thing’s for sure right now, near the end of July 2021: With half the country locked-down, many people are suffering. Many people are stressed. They are worried. There is also that other awful emotion – fear. To be perpetually scared is so stressful. We have all felt that way at times.

Too many people are scared in these times. I feel for you. I’d love to help you.

One of the greatest causes of stress comes from feeling helpless or powerless. Being told to stay indoors, to not go to work, to not visit family or friends, to not do so many activities we have done for years, things that are a part of our life; well, that’s not only stressful, but it can also be depressing.

It’s no wonder that reports of depression, suicide, drug-use, drinking, domestic violence, and other horrors abound. We’ve all heard claims that “lock-downs are harming more people than the virus”. I hope that’s not true. It frightens me. It makes me worry about people, especially small business owners, those whose jobs are lost or in danger.

On a personal level, it makes me worry about those who are alone and suffering loneliness.

I find it hard to imagine what some people are enduring. I do not have business debt. I do not need a steady stream of customers to ensure financial survival. Those days are behind me. I was fortunate. There was no pandemic while I was securing my future. And these days, I am no longer alone. I have a wife and a best friend, the same person.

Years ago, I lived alone in a one-bedroom unit. While I loved my small “home”, I also loved being out with friends; going on a date; going to a party or a barbeque; maybe a movie or a show. Or my favourite pastime – haunting bookshops.

These activities are not possible for 14 million people now. For some of them, there’s no end-date, no light – just a long dark tunnel.

When I look at what so many people are suffering now, I had a dream run.  One of my great friends, a neighbour, who visits many times a week (as neighbours should), told me recently he felt “guilty” that things were so good in his life. I share the feeling. How can I be happy when others are unhappy? It doesn’t feel right. I wish I could share that happiness. That’s what I am trying to do now.

To be locked-up (as it feels) would have been something I’d have found tough.

Only one thing would have saved me.

I’d love to share it with you – in case you need help. By ‘help’, I mean lifting your spirits, easing stress or, best of all, cheering you up, maybe to shake off any malaise and feel happy.

If laughter goes out of your life, it’s like the lights go out. Life is too dark without laughter – but there’s not too many funny things happening now. Maybe we need to create our laughter – somehow, some way. If we can find a way.

I am not among the 14 million people in lock-down. Although I am cut off from family members (who are among the 14 million) and many friends, which makes me sad at times, my wife and I are fortunate. Even when the pandemic struck last year and everything everywhere was shut, we were okay. We are on a cattle station in Central Queensland. Our youngest son is with us. Last year, my wife drove 1500 kilometres to Brisbane and back to rescue her 88-year-old mum who came to live with us.

So, aside from my relatively good fortune, I still have with me the one thing that would have saved me had this pandemic struck many years ago. That one thing is my books.


Books have been my life. Books shaped my life. Books maybe saved my life. I would not have come so far in life without books.

Indeed, without books, the thought scares me. The knowledge I have acquired from books, the lessons I have learned from turning pages, have done wonders for my life.

Books teach us so much. No, it’s more than that. Books teach us everything. Books can teach us anything. Anything we desire in life can be found in books.

A president of Harvard said a century ago: “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”

From literature to philosophy; from novels to short stories; and on to great biographies. From authors who lived centuries ago like the two Marcuse’s – Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Cicero – to literary giants such as Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene – to writers who really make you laugh aloud such as Roald Dahl and Damon Runyon (I smile typing their names); and the life stories of people such as Caroline Chisolm, Florence Nightingale, Enid Lyons, Hubert Wilkins – not forgetting, of course, greats such as Abraham Lincoln or Clementine Churchill (who I saw at her husband’s funeral on a cold January morning in 1965 and whose grace, poise and dignity was so apparent).

And then, of course, the great history books – from the story of the greatest pandemic in history by John Barry to military books by Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump) or our own Les Carlyon – that make you so appreciate the times we now live in – not to mention those who willingly gave their lives to save ours.

So often, when I am reading a book – or even thinking about a great book – I have this thought: “I feel sorry for people who have not read this book.”

Or I will go deeper and think: “Life must be so hard for people who have not read this book.”

In my own book, Success Takes Character, I have a suggested reading list of a hundred titles.

Reading great books is like having a three-to-five-hour conversation with the smartest and most interesting people who ever lived (that’s how long it takes to read the average book – at a page a minute). It’s like meeting them in person. In some cases, it’s better than a personal meeting because you don’t get off-topic. You are in control.

Great books change your life for the better.

Developing the habit of reading great books is a great way to build a great life for yourself. Whatever you want, it’s in a book. I often say to friends: “A person can work their entire lives to do something wonderful – and then they write a book. For $25 you can discover their secrets of success. You can follow in their footsteps. For $25. It’s too cheap.”

Indeed, the low cost of books is why many people don’t “value” them.

If a great book on how to succeed at something was for sale for $25,000 – and it came with a money-back guarantee – it would get some attention.

Well, pay attention now. Please.

I said something wonderful happened to me on the weekend.

Here it is: I read a great book. It’s called ‘Richer, Wiser, Happier’ by William Green. It was released three months ago. It’s less than 300 pages – which should mean a five-hour read. But this will take you ten to twelve hours because you’ll be stopping to tell people about it; you’ll be highlighting it; you’ll jump up and walk around.

I could write a two- or three-thousand-word review of this book, but please, take it from me – you must read it. It’s essential.

No matter where you are in your life, this book will make your life better.

Not only does it show you how to invest successfully, but it also shows you how to live happily. I always read with an orange highlighter. I mark (and later review) the best parts. From the second page of the introduction, most of my copy of this book is pure orange. The introduction itself will have you hooked.

I promise you: If lock-down is getting you down, this book will lift you up.


How many times do we hear people say, “If only I had the time”?? It’s one of the most common sayings in life. Well, how many people see positives in lockdowns?

It’s the chance to learn. It’s the chance to do.

That book you maybe always wanted to write. Why not do now? Come on, this is your chance. If you write 250 words a day (half a page), you’ll finish a book in six months.

Come on, you can do it.

If I can do it, you can do it.

There are thousands of excuses that stop people from achieving. All you need is one reason to do something.

To write a book, here are the steps: First, read a book about writing. Yes, I told you so: Everything is in a book, including how to write a book. I recommend ‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser. It’s also an audio book so you can listen to it on your daily walk. Learn Zinsser’s four principles to good writing: Brevity, Clarity, Simplicity and Humanity.

If you can’t get a copy fast enough, let me know. I keep spare copies of great books and I have some of these on the shelf in my library. If you are serious about you, I’d love to help you.

Once you learn how to write, give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? The true secret to writing is this: Application of seat of pants to seat of chair.

Write a frame – that’s like an outline. Work on it for a few days. It will excite you. Oh – and a big warning: There are unscrupulous ‘author teachers’ around. If anyone promises to show how to write a book and they ask for thousands of dollars in advance, run.

If you read four books, you’ll be able to write a book. The Zinsser book, The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

There you go, for about a hundred dollars you are on your way.

Of course, you can do it. I have written two books during the lockdowns. I finished my second one (my eighth book in total) last weekend. It’s called ‘88 Reasons Why You Must Never Sell Your Home by Auction’. Guess what it’s about. Ha.

It’ll be published around November. I so hope it stops the financial virus called “auctions” that damages the value of thousands of homes.

One of our subscribers, a delightful lady – who is locked-down in Melbourne now – is working on her book. It tells her story of success when buying real estate. I love the title: “ALWAYS BUY REAL ESTATE IN DECEMBER”. I hope to bring it to you soon.

If you don’t think you can write – and please, remember this (it’s a book title too): “If you can talk, you can write” – how about doing some reading during the lockdown?

I plan to review another real estate book soon. It’s simply called ‘The Real Estate Book’ and it’s written by one of Sydney’s best agents, Russell Haddan. It’s very good. I hope more sellers and buyers read it. Copies are available at davidrussell.com.au where you can download a free copy. You’ll learn from it.

At the very least, start with Richer, Wiser, Happier. Did I tell you how good it is? They say most people worry near-constantly about two things: Their weight and their money.

By the time you read the first chapter of Richer, Wiser, Happier, you’ll be excited. You will realise, if you follow some simple rules, you’ll never need to worry about money again.

Lockdown is the time to learn.

If you are struggling financially, if you have lost your job or your business is suffering, please do not worry as much as you probably have been worrying. One of the best statements I ever heard about worry is this: “98 per cent of the things we worry about have either already happened or they never will happen”.

Help is on its way.

The government will help you. Job Keeper (or similar) will almost surely be back. This is Australia, we don’t let people get thrown on the street – those days ended in the 1930s. Enid’s husband, Joe, fixed many of those problems.

If you are not a gambler or an alcoholic or any type of addict you are not going to get tossed out of your home. If you do have an addiction, get help.

Come on, you can look after you. Lockdown is the time to think too.

If you are renting, your landlord will give you a break. There are eviction bans in many states.

If you have a mortgage, your lender will give you a break.

If you are in financial trouble through no fault of your own, you will get a break.

But it’s so important to stop worrying, especially about things you cannot change. Another great writer, Maya Angelou, once wrote: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Why don’t you use the lockdown to learn about real estate?


You must have heard the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Well, it sure is.

If you are serious about learning – and you are a subscriber to the Jenman website – I will send you any of my books with my compliments. I will pay the postage. All you must do is promise me that you will read and learn.

It’s so important to know how to look after your greatest financial asset. I cannot believe the number of mistakes many people make. Especially those who say such things as: “I have been following you for years Neil and I just signed-up for auction.” What?!!

If you have been following me, how could you possibly sign-up to sell by auction? I can give you 88 reasons why you must never auction your home. If you can’t wait for the book to come out, call us and let us talk you through the 88 reasons. But please never sell by auction.

And what about property investing? Never buy an investment property through one of those “property experts”. Buy from dodgy agents, it’s much safer. I am not joking.

Beware of rental guarantees.

Beware of buyers’ agents with lots of credentials or who are described as honest and ethical by a paid party.

And beware of buying off-the-plan – you can easily ruin your life plan.

It takes no intelligence to buy. Anyone with a job who can sign their name can buy. The secret is to buy well.

If you have read this far, thank you. I have about 20 spare copies of a great property investment book. It’s called ‘20 Must Ask Questions for Every Property Investor’. It’s written by the most honest property investment person in Australia, Margaret Lomas. If you promise to read it and follow its great wisdom, let me know. Again, I will send you a copy with my compliments.

If you have a topic or any matter – personal or business – that’s bothering you, let us know. If I don’t have a spare book on the subject to send you, I will give you the name of a book.

And, of course, if you have not read my book, Success Takes Character, now might be the time to do so. I will be proud to give a copy to anyone who plans to use Jenman Support when they decide to sell.

Books have played a huge part in my life.

When I left my family cattle station at the age of 17, I took with me my 1968 Holden Ute, my blue cattle dog called Mike and the grand sum of $85 in cash.

Thirty years later, I came back to the same cattle station and bought it back from the people to whom my parents had sold it.

And here’s how I did it – books.

I learned almost everything I know in life from reading books. I urge you to do what I have done all my life – make books a part of your life.

One of the best lessons I learned from books about being a success in business was to work hard and look after those who seek your service.

We will work hard to look after you.

The lock-downs will be over one day. May life be better for you when our world gets better. And please don’t worry that this is all some conspiracy. There is no Evil Mr Big. I am fortunate to have many wonderful medical friends. There are some brilliant people in this world who are dedicated to making our world safer, and healthier.

These are the people who deserve our respect and admiration. They are true heroes.

Sure, the lock-down is hard for many of us. But let’s please try and make the best of what may be the worst situation many of us have experienced. We can’t change much of what’s happening other than to do our small part and be ultra careful.

But we can use this lock-down to do some great learning. And then come out of the blocks when it’s over ready to make a huge impact in our world.

Now, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Sometimes things we can’t change can end up changing us.

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