While in college, I was in the rotary club, and we learned the 4-way test of what we think, say, or do. It’s the moral code for everyone in the club. And here are the test:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
These are the guiding principles for the people in the club. I think there is a lot we can all learn from this principle, so we can build better relationships with the people around us. Learning from the Rotary 4-way test, I think we can all apply these principles to our lives to ensure we are moving in the right direction toward our goals and that we are kind, helpful, and fair as we relate to others.
I call it the 4 Pillars for a successful life. Use them to evaluate your actions/decisions.
- Purpose: We should have a purpose behind our actions. What’s the purpose of the decision or action you are about to take? Is it in line with your overall goals and plans? Will that decision or action move you closer to where you want to be? Will your action or decision help others as well? If you can answer YES to these questions, you should then move to step 2.
- Pain: Here, you want to evaluate the impact of your decision and action on yourself and others. Sometimes, we may need to make certain decisions that will cause temporary pain. Is that acceptable? What’s the impact of your decision on others? Will it cause them pain? Can the pain be mitigated? Does the pain outweigh the pleasure or benefits they will derive? If your actions cause pain to others, you should stop and reconsider other options. If your actions benefit you and others, then move to step 3.
- Progress: Let’s think long-term here. Will this decision or action lead to progress for you? Is this the kind of progress you truly desire? Are there unintended consequences of your actions? If you are satisfied with your responses, then you can move to step 4.
- Peace: Your peace of mind is crucial. No goals or ambition is worth sacrificing your peace for. If you have peace, your mind is at rest, you are joyful, and you have little to nothing to worry about. The question now is, will what you plan to do, bring peace to you, or will it cause chaos? If the answer is YES, you are free to proceed. However, if your answer is NO, you need to restart again and think of an alternative path forward.
So the next time before you act, say or do anything, you should consider the 4P test to make sure you are doing the right thing.