English Reading Practice
Story Number 17:
Watch the video at the top of the page.
Read the story "Be Competent" just below it.
Do the exercises at the bottom of the page.
is the Be
You can watch it in your own language at The
Way to Happiness Foundation
click the word "language" at the top right corner of that page.)
Way to Happiness is a common sense guide to
better living which has been distributed to more than 100 million
people in over 100 languages. It describes 21
principles to a better quality of life.
number 17 is "Be Competent."
read the short story about this important principle.
Bard is one of the top executive at his family's successful shoe
company, Bard's Shoes. He really appreciates competence in his workers.
He always tells the skilled and hard-working employees in the shoe
factory that he is very proud of them. But Mr. Bard does not only show
his appreciation through words. The most competent workers are also
Mr. Bard thinks that when an employee works harder and produces higher
quality shoes, the company earns more money. So, he thinks that
employee should also earn more. But many of the less competent or even
some incompetent workers in the factory disagree.
"We are all equal," they protest. "We all do the same job, so we should
get the same pay!"
When Mr. Bard sees that some of the workers are not very skilled at all
and do not concentrate on their work, he wants to fire them. But they
disagree again. "We need to earn money, too!" they protest.
Mr. Bard knows this is true. Most of his employees have families and
other important obligations. After thinking about it, he realizes that
he does not want to fire anyone.
He is a kind man, but he is also wise.
If he keeps hiring incompetent workers, he realizes, the whole company
will suffer, and perhaps all of the employees will lose their jobs. It
will also be bad for his family and for the company's customers, who
really like Bard's Shoes. So what can he do?
To improve the situation, Mr. Bard creates evening workshops to help
train the employees who are not working at company standards. They
watch the most competent workers, who receive a special bonus for
teaching their co-workers, and make lots of notes. They inspect the
production line, ask lots of questions, and
practice, practice, practice until they are highly
skilled and efficient.
The workers feel good because they know they will do their jobs much
better now. Some of them even ask if they can start to help teaching
the workshops now that they are experts.
Production at the company goes
up, and the customers say they are happier than ever with the high
quality shoes they buy from Bard's Shoes! As sales increase, Mr. Bard
to pay his workers even better. And thanks to the company's smart pay
system, the most competent workers can be highly rewarded for all their
hard work and expertise.
And now, practice:
1. What does "competent" mean?
a) ready to learn
b) when you have done the same thing for a long time
c) when you make a lot of money for your work
d) skilled and capable at what you do
2. What does "expertise" mean?
a) special skill or
knowledge about something specific
b) books about a certain topic
c) the different tasks you do for your job
d) the products of your work
3. What does "efficient" mean?
a) knowing a lot about a
b) doing your best
c) able to produce results without wasting time or energy
d) teaching others how to do something
1. The most competent workers are also ________ more.
2. He really appreciates competence ________ his workers.
3. They watch the ________ workers.
a) best competent
d) most competent
1. Why does Mr. Bard pay some employees more?
2. How does Mr. Bard decide to solve the problem of incompetence in his
3. In your opinion, why is it important to be competent?