What 3 Things Can I Do to Extend the Length of My Life?

Direction: After a short greeting, read the following article out loud with your tutor. Go over highlighted vocab/expression to make sure you understand everything. 

[Health ★★★★] What 3 Things Can I Do to Extend the Length of My Life?

 

(P1) Somewhere out there is a bunch of people who are going to live to be 100. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 77,000 centenarians in 2014. Still, that number is very small: centenarians represent less than a quarter of 1% of the entire U.S. population.

(P2) So how do you get to be one of them? You could invent a time machine, start your life over and do everything they did, or try to find a way to borrow their genes. Failing that, here are three things that longevity researchers recommend you start–and keep–doing.

STAY CURIOUS.
(P3) Once you’ve got a few years on you, it’s easy to think you’ve heard it all. But the idea that the world has nothing to teach you makes you stop asking questions–and that has consequences. “There is evidence that curiosity has longevity benefits,” says Laura L. Carstensen, a professor of psychology and public policy at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Longevity Center. “Asking questions and discovering new things keeps you engaged with the world and with other people.”

(P4) Learning something new can be a form of problem solving: digging into an article about something unusual or asking a family member about her obscure doctoral thesis (and actually listening to the answer) requires you to exercise cognitive muscles that may have gone slack.

EAT WAY MORE PLANTS THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO.
(P5) The link between diet and well-being is something we learn early in life–and then forget over and over again until we die. That may be why so many people have diet-related diseases. In the U.S., nearly 28 million people have Type 2 diabetes, 86 million adults are prediabetic, roughly 1 in 3 adults suffers from high blood pressure, and a stunning 69% of adults are overweight.

(P6) So if there’s one thing worth drilling into your mind, it’s this: the healthiest diet is the one in which you eat a lot of plants. The celebrated Mediterranean diet is celebrated for a reason, with study after study showing that its focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil is linked to a longer life.

(P7) A 2015 study of 450,000 European adults found those who ate a diet that was 70% plant-based–fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans–had a 20% lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than other people. A Harvard University study found that people who ate eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who ate less from the plant group.

(P8) Multiple studies on both laboratory animals and humans have shown that caloric restriction–following a diet whose calories are roughly 25% below the recommended adult daily calorie intake–can have life-extending benefits. That’s not the way most people would want to live, but replacing meats with fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward slashing calories in a more satisfying way.

RETHINK WHAT IT MEANS TO BE OLD.
(P8) It’s hard to feel positive about a stage of life when you spend every year leading up to it assuming that it’s going to be grim. That, of course, is a great way to ensure that grim is precisely what it becomes–but the inverse is also true. “Our research has shown that when more-positive beliefs about older individuals are held earlier in life, they can lead to health advantages,” says Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health. That, in turn, can mean a remarkable 7.5-year boost in life span compared with people who have negative beliefs about age.

(P9) That means remaining mindful of the contributions that older people make to others–and making those contributions yourself. There’s no reason to accept that seniors are all addled and frail just because so many TV shows depict them that way.

(P10) Mortality is nonnegotiable, which is probably what makes it seem so terrible. But the number of years you get–not to mention the way you spend them–can in many ways be up to you.

WORDS: 685

SOURCE: http://time.com/4673032/how-to-extend-the-length-of-my-life/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What are some things that the article suggest you do to extend the length of your life? How much of the suggestions are you currently doing?
  3. Can you picture yourself when you are in your 80’s? What would have changed from now? What kind of individual do you imagine yourself to be?
  4. Describe someone that you know that had a very long, happy life. How were they living their lives differently? What can we learn from them? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

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Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

Direction: After a short greeting, read the following article out loud with your tutor. Go over highlighted vocab/expression to make sure you understand everything. 

[Business ★★★★] Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

PHOTO: FLICKR USER ROGER SCHULTZ

(P1) Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and Dell are 40% more productive than the average company, according to research from the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company. You might think that it’s because these companies attract top-tier employees–high performers who are naturally gifted at productivity–but that’s not the case, says Bain & Company partner Michael Mankins.

(P2) “Our research found that these companies have 16% star players, while other companies have 15%,” he says. “They start with about the same mix of star players, but they are able to produce dramatically more output.”

(P3) It’s what they do with these high performers. Executives from large companies across 12 industry sectors worldwide said three components of human capital impact productivity more than anything else: time, talent, and energy. And the top quartile organized its business processes in a way that they’re 40% more productive than the rest and consequently have profit margins that are 30%-50% higher than industry averages.

(P4) They get more done by 10 a.m. Thursday morning than the others do in a week, but they don’t stop working,” says Mankins. “This difference compounds every year; over a decade, they can produce 30 times more than the rest, with the same number of employees.”

(P5) Mankins explores their methods and mindsets in his new book TIME | TALENT | ENERGY: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power. Here’s what he found:

GROUPING A PLAYERS
(P6) The average company follows a method of unintentional egalitarianism, spreading star talent across all of the roles, says Mankins. Companies like Google and Apple, however, follow an intentionally nonegalitarian method. “They select a handful of roles that are business critical, affecting the success of the company’s strategy and execution, and they fill 95% of these roles with A-level quality,” says Mankins. “The rest of the roles have fewer star players.”

(P7) An example of how this can play out is Apple and Microsoft in early 2000s, says Mankins. “It took 600 Apple engineers fewer than two years to develop, debug, and deploy iOS 10,” he says. “Contrast that with 10,000 engineers at Microsoft that took more than five years to develop, debut, and ultimately retract Vista. The difference is in the way these companies chose to construct their teams.”

(P8) Apple used all-star teams because iOS 10 was a mission critical initiative. In addition, rewards were applied to team performance; no one person on the team could receive an exceptional performance appraisal unless the entire team did. On the other hand, Microsoft used a stacked ranking where 20% of every team got an exceptional review, and compensation was entirely based on individual performance. Microsoft eventually abolished stacked ranking, says Mankins.

(P9) “For every member of the team that is not a star player, productivity declines,” he says. “If 100% of the team is star players, productivity is extremely high.”

ELIMINATING ORGANIZATIONAL DRAG
(P10) The average company loses more than 25% of its productive power to organizational drag, processes that waste time and prevent people from getting things done, says Mankins. This often happens as a company grows, as the tendency is to put processes in place to replace judgment. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that organizational drag costs the economy more than $3 trillion each year in lost output.

(P11) The most common processes relate to expense management, says Mankins. “At most companies, there are spending limits and audits, and employees are tracked,” he says. “At Netflix, however, there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’ The company is telling employees, ‘We assume you are not here to rip off the company, and we’re not going to put in place processes that consume human capital, waste time, and zap energy.’ They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”

INSPIRING LEADERS
(P12) An engaged employee is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker, but an employee who feels inspired at work is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one, says Mankins. The companies that inspire more employees perform better than the rest.

(P13) “We’ve been taught that you’re either a General Patton and can inspire others or you’re not, but this is not true,” he says. “Inspirational leadership can be taught. Companies that recognize that and invest in making it happen create meaningful impact on the productivity of their company.”

(P14) Dell Technologies recognized the productivity difference between inspired and average teams, says Mankins. “Sales teams led by an inspiring leader are 6% more productive than those that have an average leader. If you extrapolate that 6% it accounts for an extra $1 billion in annual revenue. Consider what [poor leadership] is costing your company.”

(P15) Individual talent is great, but it can’t turn companies into stars, Mankins says. “We could try everything we want to emulate the habits of highly effective individuals, but it doesn’t matter what we do individually if it runs counter to how an organization gets work done,” says Mankins. “Top-performing companies focus on collective instead of individual.”

WORDS: 839

SOURCE: https://www.fastcompany.com/3068771/work-smart/how-employees-at-apple-and-google-are-more-productive

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What are some things that the high-performing companies are doing differently from the average?
  3. Does your company/organization have management policies or processes that are meant to encourage more productivity? How effective is it?
  4. Explain the time when you were feeling very productive. What were you doing, and what are some of the components that contributed to high productivity? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

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