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The Four-Way Test

I have been a Rotarian since 1987 and am very proud to be a member of such an outstanding group of fine, caring people who are members of Rotary Clubs located throughout the world. Civic organizations, like Rotary, help to make our communities, and indeed the world, a much better place to live, work and play.

Basically, the one thing I really like about Rotary is its’ four-way test. The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for all Rotarians to subscribe to and use in their personal and professional lives, applying it to any and everything.

The Rotary Four-Way Test is as follows:

Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I know that when I live my life by this test, I feel great and, that I’m truly the person I want to be!

1. Is it the TRUTH? I like to ask myself, ‘is what I’m about to say (or think) the truth’? Truth, for me, is something that I personally KNOW to be a fact. I believe all of us know, deep down inside, what TRUTH is. By living a truthful life, we will be happy with who we are and also be where we will, for sure, live a joyful life.

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? When dealing with anyone, in any given circumstance, I do my best to change the role so that I am the other person (standing across from me or ‘sitting’ on the other side of the table) and then I’ll ask myself, how would I feel in that position? In other words, if the roles were reversed, how happy would I be feeling? My goal is to do my best so that, in any given situation, both the other person and I are satisfied and happy with the outcome. The ‘win-win’, is always a very good thing and something I aspire to always achieve.

In business, being fair and taking care of your customers is the cornerstone of good business. Rotary International writes this about business fairness: “The substitution of fairness for the harsh principles of doing business at arm’s length has improved rather than hurt business relationships.”


My goal for every endeavor, every situation, is to build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS. This is something I aspire to do with my current friends as well as new people I meet. A smile, saying something or doing something nice and/or being helpful to others, indeed blesses our own life! For sure, I know when I have done something to help make someone else’s life a little better that, indeed, I have made my life much better by having done that for them!

In Rotary, our desire is to help make the world a better place by the way we live and through being of service. Even if our personal ideology differs from someone else, working beside them in the hand of friendship builds bridges of understanding.

4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Whatever it is that I do, the ultimate test is, will it be beneficial to ALL concerned? This may only just another person or two, or in some cases, thousands/millions of people. But, no matter how many are affected, will ALL concerned benefit by what I say or do? THAT is what I strive for. For me, life is about living in harmony together, one with another; will others benefit by what I say or do? I know if I live my truth, I know I will care about their well-being. I want to be a benefit to their lives; and my quest is to greet them with enthusiasm, treat them with kindness, show them respect and to add positively to their life in any way that I am able.

I am not perfect in always applying the Four-Way Test to everything I think, say or do, but, for sure, when I do apply the Rotary Four-Way Test to my personal life, as well as in my business world, I am happier and those around me are happier. After all, I believe THAT’s what it’s all about!

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