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Fresh start: How the Four-Way Test can bring the hope of springtime all year long

Sunshine, rain and the refreshing cycle of the seasons has a way of coming around every year, often with renewed urgency for spring cleaning. The mental push to organize, declutter and move forward applies to more than just the spaces we share. Optimism and a sense of order tend to follow, a kind of respect for ourselves and others implied in the positive change.

Applying similar principles to our thoughts and actions never goes out of season. The Four-Way Test, with its focus on fairness and kindness in our social interactions, prepares us with just what’s needed for sunnier days ahead. Choosing to sweep away negativity this spring will have far-reaching effects to help us form connections beyond fair-weather friends.

As business leaders, daily responsibilities can be a distraction from our true purpose: to serve one another, our clients and co-workers, in exemplary ways, some of which are named in Rotary’s guiding principles.

Is it the truth? Light drives out darkness and there’s no time like the present to welcome brighter thoughts. Sharing information we know to be accurate keeps us grounded in the truth. Honesty and integrity go hand-in-hand, virtues that contribute to a person’s character. Take the time to reevaluate what you know to be true and center your thoughts. You’ll have a clean conscience when you pause to seek the facts.

Is it fair to all concerned? Seeking unbiased information is part of any pursuit of the truth. Fairness should provide a foundation to what we choose to share but also what we choose to believe. Every person owes friends, family, strangers and fellow Rotarians a measure of fairness. Politics and personal beliefs aside, all interactions should be evenhanded. Life has a way of becoming orderly when we are fair with one another, a concept that starts in our own minds.

Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Relationships with others flourish when they’re entered into in good faith. Be open-minded and seek connections that build rapport. Empathy and consideration for others begin with our own kind thoughts. Brighten someone’s day and you’ll be surprised at the clarifying effect it can have on yours.

Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Doing some spring cleaning always involves sorting out as well as tidying up. The same could be said for how we choose to think through our beliefs, reflect and live differently through different seasons of life. Expressing ourselves with candor after careful consideration lends a breath of fresh air to stale conversation. What is beneficial to all also includes what is beneficial to ourselves, a glint of hope in the assurance seeds planted almost always yields flowers for everyone to enjoy.

Consider the Four-Way Test as you embrace spring cleaning of more than one kind this year. I hope your springtime is filled with all the best things, including friendship.

Charlie Price



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