20. Core Nature

20. Core Nature

Your core nature is what attaches meaning to relationships, vocation, actions and experiences. It’s your significance filter. What’s meaningful or significant to you may completely elude someone else’s filter. It includes what you value most and seek most from interpersonal communication and other processes. It is your reward system, determining how your unique abilities are best clarified, evaluated and refreshed. A person’s core nature is either Aesthetic or Pragmatic, very rarely both.

Your Core Nature governs two major functions: receiving and inventorying communication, experiences, environments, relationships, and movement; and acting on the information processed by executing a milestone or creating an experience.

From an ability management standpoint, if the soul has a home, this is where it resides.


Aesthetics focus on experiences and feelings.  They become aware of context before they focus on content, seeking out a pattern or rhythm of events or information.  They value the impact of words, preferring to be told rather than shown how they are appreciated.

They tend to have more freedom than Pragmatics since they are not tied to material or monetary rewards. They regard money primarily as a means to positive life experiences and memories.

Aesthetics are keen at evaluating people, events, environments and organizations. They bring humanity into a project or situation. Their nurturing and relational nature is what draws others to them. They are sensitive to criticism because they hear the Ouch before the content of the statement. They often give up tangible rewards in exchange for verbal praise. If they can’t manage this ability, they may have to settle for being liked rather than respected.

Aesthetics need appreciation for being good parents, spouses, or professionals. Notice, acknowledgement and validation with meaningful words feed their soul. They’ll hold onto words and the thoughts behind the words as signs of true appreciation. They tend to nurture others with words, affirmations and subtle gestures.

They may assume that everyone else processes information and establishes goals and rewards in the same way they do. This can lead to value blindness. Their competence and confidence come from having safe or supportive, non-judgmental environments and relationships. They need to educate others who do not share the same rewards and values as to what they find rewarding.

The way to motivate an Aesthetic is with words of appreciation rather than deadlines or milestones. They need to feel championed. The championing creates a non-critical nurturing environment, which allows them to clarify and act on that clarity.

Natural predators for Aesthetics areenvironments and situations in which productivity is valued higher than human or poetic considerations. Environments promoting criticism become toxic for them.

They need to reward themselves with life experiences, islands of remembrance. They must be rich in life experiences. The consequence of not achieving this will be burnout.

Aesthetic is a key characteristic. If you are Aesthetic, it is an essential component of your stability and a point of interaction with all your other attributes.


Pragmatics focus on results as tangible milestones. They zero in on content first, then context. They constantly want to know when, how much, where, who and why.  They regard actions and material rewards as signs of appreciation.

They regard money as stored energy, seeing financial assets as stability and resources for positive action…new and more results. Material acquisitions nurture their sense of significance. They are results-oriented and strong at evaluation for substantive achievement.

Pragmatics generally evaluate progress and communication on the basis of concrete substance and down-to-earth reality. They believe the facts. Their attitude is: show me that you care by what you do, not by what you say. They need to know the Why to be affirmed. Why am I a good professional/parent/spouse? They need to be seen, acknowledged and validated with substance.

They may assume that everyone else processes information and establishes goals and rewards the same way they do. Again, this can lead to value blindness. Pragmatics are not motivated by words and can be insensitive to those who are. They might be considered materialistic and harsh if they don’t manage this ability.

Their competence and confidence come from results, accomplishments, achievements and significant actions. They’re motivated by the real, the tangible, and the practical. They are impacted by the written statement…bank statements, graphs, written goals, journals…anything that transfers a goal from their heads to a substantive reality.

They accept criticism more effectively than Aesthetics because they focus more on the content than on the nuance of the criticism. They accept and use criticism positively to move forward.

Pragmatics must educate others who do not share the same rewards and values as to what rewards them. The way to motivate them is with milestones, not nurturing words.

They need to acknowledge a job well done with substantial rewards…a vacation, a new set of golf clubs, a new suit, or anything else of value to them. The consequence of not rewarding themselves is burnout.


Relationships between Aesthetics and Pragmatics. Most couples have opposing core natures, and these are not gender-specific. When a husband and wife watch The Antiques Road Show on television, they think they’re enjoying a shared experience. And they are, except it’s not the same experience. For example, if a woman presents a beautiful painting inherited from her family, as the appraiser shares his expertise, the wife and husband each hear differently. If the wife is an Aesthetic, she hears: “17th-Century original oil painting by a Flemish artist; passed down from her great grandmother; wants to pass this heirloom down to her daughter; priceless; I’d never part with it!” Her Pragmatic husband hears: “It’s really old. Worth $36,000; it would pay for the addition above the garage; I wonder if she’d agree to sell it?”

An historic example of how abilities are not gender-specific is presented by Caesar and Cleopatra.  Caesar was Aesthetic. He was wounded more by the emotional betrayal of his friend Brutus than by being actually stabbed in the back. His last words were, “Et tu, Brutus?” Cleopatra was Pragmatic. She focused on acquisitions and was able to regain all the land lost by previous pharaohs. She was also a formidable strategist.

When it comes to purchasing a home, Aesthetics will focus on creating a nesting environment. Pragmatics will zero in on the money and on the practicalities of acquisition in a prestigious neighborhood with good schools.

This is an area of great misunderstanding in relationships. If you know your own Core Nature, it will help you communicate to others what you need from them. When two people in a significant relationship learn to tell each other their needs, concerns, fears and frustrations, it can go a long way to promoting harmony.  Because partners generally differ in their Core Natures, a good question is: “Am I loving my partner the way he or she needs to be loved…not the way I need to be loved?”My wife is Aesthetic, so it is important to her that I tell her I love and appreciate her. Since I am Pragmatic, it is important to me that she shows me she loves me by her actions.

These principles also apply in business and social relationships. An effective way to avoid miscommunication and bring clarity to a discussion is to mirror back what was understood. “What I’m hearing you say is……..” That gives the other person an opportunity to correct or to affirm that you got it. If you’re not at all sure what the other person said, ask “Can you tell me that in another way?”

In my favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life, we have great examples of the Pragmatic and Aesthetic in action. George is Pragmatic. Mary is Aesthetic.  In one memorable scene, after George has given away their honeymoon money to save the Building & Loan, he is squired to a dilapidated house.  His disgust with the place is evident on his face as he enters. But his face brightens when he sees that Mary has created a honeymoon suite with homey fire, a roasting chicken, travel posters, cozy curtains and bedding. Mary becomes the center of attention. She carefully created a honeymoon setting that for her may as well have been in the Waldorf Astoria.  She created a memory with George.  Her face beams. Both are pleased and rewarded for different reasons.

One further complication to this area is that every ability has its own profile.  A person can be Aesthetic, but also have one or more abilities that tend to be Pragmatic, such as Justice. Although you are Aesthetic, your pragmatism comes out when your Justice ability is engaged. A person can be Pragmatic with a very Aesthetic ability like Nurturer. In either case, some of your attributes may balance out your Core Nature. Alternatively, you may be Pragmatic with one or more attributes that are also strongly Pragmatic, intensifying your Pragmatic Core Nature. Because of these complexities, you may identify somewhat with both Aesthetic and Pragmatic, but remember…you’re looking for the dominant.

When I review a client’s profile, the first thing I note is whether they are Aesthetic or Pragmatic because it affects the entire direction of the consultation. If you’re going to master being yourself, it is essential that you identify your Core Nature.

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