Monday, May 24, 2021

Is it Fair?

A million years ago I was invited to join the Rotary Club of Chino, California.  After a couple years I moved to a new town, joined the Club there, served as Club President for a year followed by many years as Club Treasurer.  Rotary was an important part of my early career life and I stayed involved enough to be recognized as “Senior Active” when I was only 42.

 The “Four Way Test” was a key guiding principle in Rotary for all the things we do, think, or say.  “Is it the truth?”  “Is it fair?”  "Will it build goodwill and better friendships?”  And finally, “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”  These all sounded like good questions to ask. 

And then, my two good friends Nate and Kaley Klemp wrote a book, “The 80/80 Marriage” and it challenged my beliefs around the Four Way Test.  When I take a step back and think about it, “Is it Fair?” may not be the best question if the desire is a healthy relationship.  An aspiration of fairness implies a score, a ledger, an accounting.  How do we really do that in relationships?  Does planning and preparing a great meal equate to fairness if the other partner took out the trash, made the bedroom look great, and took care of the bills for the month?  Who knows?  And really, who cares?!

A Big Idea from Kaley and Nate’s book is the idea of radical generosity.  What if instead of fairness, or some sort of 50/50 equation, both people in a relationship aspire to pour in 80%?  How do things change?  To me, it starts with a change in mindset.  It means letting go of fairness as the target and replaces that with a desire to contribute.  I want to contribute to the success of this relationship!  So, “Is it Fair?” can then be replaced with, “What would generosity look like here?” 

What do you think?



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