Posted by Lloyd Nelson
The Four-Way Test of the things we think say or do. It is something that most of us repeat every Rotary meeting, it sounds good and it has great value. It is something that I use in my life and repeat to others when decisions need to be made. However, maybe the true value of the Four-Way Test never became as clear to me as it did last year.
At the close of one of our Rotary meetings, a member of our club, a City official who had not been given his ticket, went into an adjoining section of the restaurant to pay for his meal. That part of the restaurant was the bar, which I happened to be walking past when he came out of it. I joked with him that I could tell people I saw him, a city official, coming out of a bar at lunch time!
I then said to him that, even though it was true, it would not pass the Four-Way Test. I had seen him coming out of the bar at lunch time. That would pass the first of the Four-Way test because it was true. But telling this truth would not pass the second test because it would not be "Fair to all concerned";  it would harm his reputation and maybe even cost him his job. That would certainly not "Build Good Will and Better Friendships" which is the third test. This also would not pass the fourth test, which is "Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned."
When I thought about this, I realized just how valuable this Four-Way Test really is and how many of our problems could be solved if everyone followed these principles. I really appreciate an organization, like Rotary, that has such high standards.