The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test 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?

Scripted by Herbert J. Taylor

This Four-Way Test has been used by the Rotarians around the globe. I’ve got the chance to participate in the Rotary Club during college, but was not oriented with this Four-Way Test. I was able to see this sign though on the roads. It’s a good benchmark when doing things in our community as well as in our personal life. We struggle a lot when the truth is being twisted and fabricated to suit the frames of the society.

But if we stopped to ask ourselves, ‘Is it the truth?’ We’ll ponder upon our own actions and the words we utter if what we are spreading is the truth. If we are true to ourselves and want to be true to others, we can opt not to say anything instead of inventing something that didn’t really happen.

‘Is it fair to all concerned?’, are we being fair to the people around us when we try to fabricate or create truths we want others to believe? As in any organization, if the leaders would just pause before deriving a decision, he/she will be able to provide reasonable answers instead of entertaining foul play.

As in our behaviour towards other people, we shall reflect upon, ‘Will it build goodwill and better friendships?’ or what we set ourselves to do would only create disparity among the people involved and hurt them in the process?

To garner our desired positive results, we shall ask, ‘Will it be beneficial to all concerned?’ Maybe we would view our actions as ‘for the greater good’, but often times the ones benefiting are just a few. It may lead to safeguarding the few people, while hurting the whole order of things in trying to protect what we deem as important.

This 24-word script has been proposed by Taylor in the 1940s to be used in the Rotary organization. It has been a yardstick to measure ethical behaviour in business practices.

 

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