Posted by Lee Mulberry (Highlands Ranch)
ROTARY'S 4-WAY TEST is about Moral Integrity, it is expressed as Truth, Fairness, Goodwill and Benefit. The test will guide those who dare to use it for worthy objectives: choosing, winning and keeping friends; getting along well with others; ensuring a happy home life; developing high ethical and moral standards; becoming successful in a chosen business or profession; and becoming a better citizen and a better example for the next generation. It is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. Rotary does not care how many Republicans or Democrats are members – it is not important. Rotary does not care how many Religions are represented – it is not important. The 4-way test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at every club meeting.  
Let's look at the very first line: "Of the things we Think, Say or Do..." Most often we are judged by what we say or do, and by extension, our thoughts are less important than our behavior. Rotarians take issue with this concept, we believe that our thoughts are very important as they guide our words and behavior. We feel that to do otherwise is insincere and hypocritical.
"Is it the Truth?" According to whom? The answer is ourselves and our moral compass! One of the reasons I love golf is that it is one of the very few sports in which you call penalties on yourself. Most sports rely on an outside force to regulate injustice - Umpires and Referees, etc. It is therefore assumed that if you do not get caught it is acceptable behavior. Rotarians reject this thinking; we rely on our moral compass and high ethical standards to guide our determination of Truth.
"Is it Fair to all Concerned?" Firstly, it needs to be said that there is a big difference between Fair and Equal. It is rarely possible to be Equal without being Unfair. However, it is quite possible to be Fair without being Equal. People need different things at different times which calls for fairness not equality.
"Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?" Goodwill is helping others when you know that you will get nothing in return. Rotarians spend hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours spreading Goodwill around the globe every year, the only return they receive is a “Thank You.” Spreading Goodwill creates strong and lasting Friendships.
"Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned?" This question eliminates the dog-eat-dog principle of ruthless competition and substitutes the idea of constructive and creative competition. While it is unrealistic to believe that there are not winners and losers, there is great merit in "How you play the game".
Eloquently simple, stunning in its power, undeniable in its results, The Four-Way Test offers a fresh and positive vision in the midst of a world full of tension, confusion and uncertainty.