Of the things we think, say or do … Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

South Hill Rotary Club
Matthew Jenkins, Winning Essay

These four questions make up the Rotary 4-way test. By
knowing and using this test, we could all become kinder
people, but first you must understand what each question
means.

“Is it the TRUTH?”

When you ask yourself this question, you are asking
yourself if what you are about to say is honest. In many
instances, people stray from the truth in order to keep
themselves from getting into immediate trouble. I know
from experience that when you tell the truth, the
consequences are a lot better than if you lie. Sometimes,
the truth is not beneficial to others. In this case, it is best
to tell the person in private, or even write an anonomous
note. In any case, honesty is always the best policy.

“Is it FAIR to all concerned?”

When something is fair, it is free from bias, dishonesty,
or injustice. I always try to be fair to everyone because I
never know who I might see again in my future. I once
heard a quote that said, “People may not remember

exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will
always remember how you made them feel.” Even something
as small as not picking someone on a team
could make a difference in their lives. I still remember
recess in 5th grade. Whenever we played basketball, I
would either not be picked or be put on the losing team. I
would go home everyday and tell my mom how it wasn’t
fair. They never gave me a chance to prove that I could
play. Even though those kids and I are friends now, I will
never forget how they were unfair to me.

“Will it bring GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?”

Goodwill and better friendships are basically the same
thing. They both have to do with making friends and
improving your relationships with friends. My mom has
always explained to me that I don’t have to be BEST
friends with everyone, but I do have to be nice and
friendly to everyone. To be a friend with someone, you
don’t have to spend every minute with them. Sometimes,
just smiling is enough.

“Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

When something is beneficial, it is helpful. The best
example of saying things that are beneficial to others is
to use the old phrase my kindergarten teachers would
say,” If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say
anything at all.”

This 4-way test is very helpful. By following it, you can
develop a life of high values and moral character, not
only professionally but also personally with friends and
family. I’d like to thank the Rotary Club for bringing this
test to my attention. I know it will change my life forever.

17 Responses to Of the things we think, say or do … Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

  1. Jeremy August 28, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    I really believe in these questions. If we apply it on our way of life, we enter into deeper spirituality.

  2. shelby February 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I was wodering who said that quote that you put in your essay about how people won’t remember what you did.. but they will remember how you made them feel?

  3. SJ May 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    this is a very nice essay, it feels sincere

  4. Dan Wheeler November 5, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    There is no such thing as business ethics. There is only one kind — you have to adhere to the highest standards.
    — Marvin Bower, former managing partner of McKinsey & Company

  5. Andrea January 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Nice essay!

  6. Harrison March 8, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    only if everyone knew these, the world would be a better place

  7. ASHA SALEH April 11, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    This is a very nice and lovely essay and will also help teach other people about what rotaract is all about.Thank you

  8. lyzel estalane June 15, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    this question made my mind awaken from my past.. it would be similar as what i did.. i really glad to read this 4 way test… its really amazing.. how the essayist can directly tell what is commonly happen in every being….

  9. Mrs Olayide Shonubi December 28, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I have always tried to apply the four way test in anything that I do even though it is not easy,I also recommend this in resolving conflict among members of my family,my friends and colleagues. Thanks Rotary for this 4-way test.

  10. Mrs Olayide Shonubi December 28, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Even though I am not a Rotarian but I believe so much in what Rotary is doing for humanity.I am also doing this in my little way. I also apply The Rotary 4-way test to whatever I do in life and my relationship with people ,Is it the TRUTH;is it FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED; will it build,GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP; will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned .To me this is a summary of The Ten Commandments.

  11. Brenson March 9, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Agh, wow. Mine is so much longer, like over 1000 words. Sheesh.

  12. Phil Broms May 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Enjoyed the essay and strongly believe the value of the 4-Way Test in our personal and business lives. I’ve hear of a club that has added the “5th Test”, which is “Is it fun?” Fun is important, though I’m ambivelant about including it as a part of the 4-Way Test. Comments? Phil

  13. Richard September 5, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Never belonged to the Rotary, but visited one in 1969 to meet a client about an insurance question he needed to take care of. I saw these four questions in a frame on the wall, I copied them on the back of a business card, and carried that with me. Now the ink has run so the words are blurry on this very, very worn and tattered card after being in my wallet over four decades until after I retired. I now have it in a drawer in my desk, where I take it out every so often to view those words that made my life so much better. I took the words to heart, even if it meant losing money, a client, or having to leave a company because they didn’t adhere to them. What I gained is to be able to look back over those forty years with so much pride in knowing that I always attempted to do the right thing no matter the cost, and with no shame. It has made my life simpler then, and a whole lot happier then, and now.

  14. Duiks October 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Nice essay indeed! ..talking about real life

  15. Divya jha April 12, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Really it is true ..we all are facing this all questions.i belive in all question

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