Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. ~Bruce Lee
From the moment you were born your nature was set.
Because money is black-and-white, it’s easier to see this through the lens of finance and how people relate to money, but your nature is the foundation for how you relate to all four currencies. There are only seven natures. No one is better than another though each has its own positive and negative aspects. The positive side of your nature will propel you further in your evolution; it is your superpower. The negative side can keep you stuck and cause problems that repeat.
To find your financial nature we have created a seven question survey that you may take here. And here’s a survey for kids 11-18 to find their superpower natures:
Each nature brings value to the world, and it’s how we come together to combine our natural resources that help us evolve as couples, families communities, nations, and as a human race. Below is a brief description of the seven natures.
Takers have highly-tuned instincts, are often very resourceful, and able to make things happen. Takers are resilient, able to adapt; they are survivors. These traits can be absolute assets. Some of the best athletes, musicians, improv performers and comics are Takers. Because Takers focus their attention on whatever is demanding it the most in the moment, they are able to see their opportunities and act on them before too much thought dissuades them. Sometimes that catapults them into legend, like Michael Jordan or Lucille Ball, and other times they end up creating problems to which they must react, a cycle that can repeat endlessly.
Takers unconsciously interpret their realities as ones in which they are constantly put into situations that necessitate reaction without thinking. Again, reacting in the moment can be positive, and life demands that we all react before thinking at times. However this nature’s very base of operations is primal: instinct. Choices are made by instinct rather than awareness and reason. In fact, awareness and reason are often avoided due to fear. Takers are further characterized by a sense of insufficiency and a scarcity mind-set. Often Takers lack the resources necessary to meet their needs and accept this as the way life is and always will be, and they find value in money by getting it. People with this nature often live in crisis and chaos even if they actually do have enough or more than enough money to live well; the chaos and crisis will show up in their other currencies.
Takers find value in money, and their other currencies, when they get it.
Spenders are deeply connected to their emotions. In fact they operate from a place of feeling, make sense of themselves and the world through how they feel, and they relate to others on an emotional level. This nature is further characterized by emotional, financial, and energetic highs and lows. At times they can be confident, full of energy, and fun, while at other times they are insecure, immobile, and depressed. Extreme famous examples are Ernest Hemingway and Frida Kahlo whose lows gave them the inspiration to create when they had enough energy to do so. Such a deep connection to human emotions made their works incredibly moving and valuable, but their lives were very unstable.
People with this nature experience much back-and-forth, up-and-down. They cycle between positive and negative, bounce between wants and needs, and have a tendency to spend wildly when money is available to them. Because Spenders find value in money by spending it, having money feels uncomfortable. It is the same with the other currencies. If they have energy they’ll use it until they are spent, for example. Relationships are often up and down, and they cycle between having lots of time and having none at all. At best living in this pattern will leave a person no worse off. They may not be digging a hole and taking on debt, but their financial position, health, relationships, and time experience won’t improve even if their resources increase.
Spenders find value in money, and the rest of their currencies, when they spend it.
Earners are characterized by hard work, effort, and striving. People with this nature are action-oriented and often very busy getting things done. They appreciate the satisfaction of a job well-done. Earners perceive their personal worth from the work they do and they try to solve problems by working harder, longer, or faster. They try to get what they need by earning it: money, love, stuff, and everything else. Thomas Edison, who achieved all he did through hard work said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Balance is difficult for Earners to imagine and achieve. Absolutely everything is perceived as work to an Earner, and they make their daily lives burdensome by approaching each detail from the belief that anything of value requires great effort and that life is inherently hard. They tend to be over-functional and over-analytical, and they sometimes work themselves into exhaustion and other stress-related health conditions. Earners often believe that being efficient is being at the top of their game. They find value in money by earning and paying, and they finely tune the allocation of their currencies so there is nothing extra. They can’t tolerate ups and downs and will do anything to smooth them out in an effort to eliminate the emotional effects of their currencies, replacing emotion with discipline and effort. This nature is culturally endorsed by recognizing and sometimes rewarding workers who stay busy as well as over-valuing efficiency. Thus, Earners can get stuck here thinking they’ve reached the peak of their performance.
Earners find value in money, (and the rest of their currencies), when they earn it.
The Saver nature is characterized by accumulating, preparing, insulating, collecting, and, naturally, saving. Savers appreciate a sense of security, are frugal and inclined to reserve their resources for some time in the future. They save money, time, energy, and stuff, like plastic baggies, for future use. They may even cycle possessions through their families to avoid throwing anything away. Often described as stable and steadfast, Savers are naturally able to create margin within the four values. They are able to cultivate a financial cushion and simply don’t spend their money frivolously. You may have heard of someone who passed away and only then it was discovered that he or she had millions stashed away. Even their friends and families didn’t know! That’s most likely the easiest illustration this nature: unassuming, living well below their means, and socking away every last penny, completely disconnected to what their money could actually do for them.
Healthy, self-aware Savers can learn to save that which provides value and identify when they have saved enough. Because Savers are quite independent, sometimes isolating themselves, they may need the help of an outside perspective to understand “enough.” Dysfunctional Savers have an unhealthy and unreasonable attachment to their money and things. Sometimes they become hoarders. A Saver may not have enough income to hoard their money, so their need to save will express in other areas of their lives. They accumulate useless stuff with which they are unable to part. They may try to save energy and time by being sedentary. Sometimes Savers will cast themselves as saviors and try to save or rescue animals or other people, often leading to unhealthy relationships or unsanitary living conditions. Savers in dysfunction want the biggest serving at the table if not the whole dish and are ruled by the fear of not having enough of something when they may need it. Tragically, they can get stuck here.
Savers find value in money, and all the rest, when they save it.
Investors naturally understand investing resources, (their four currencies), in ways that give them something of value back, something that can be enjoyed. Investors exercise because it makes them more energized and healthier, for example. They are also creative, able to make what they want or need to get ahead. Investors understand that risk can payoff, and they like the thrill of the win. Investors are often successful, productive, innovative, and many are entrepreneurs. They are motivated by what can generate more, are often clever and charismatic. Like farmers who dig wells or ski areas that make snow, Investors don’t leave their futures up to pure chance. They invest in businesses, real estate, or in the stock market because they believe they’ll make more money back. Productivity is easier for Investors, requiring less effort than other natures. We’ve often talked about Tony Stark/Iron Man as an example of an Investor. He simply invents what he needs and invests his fortune in creating more value: an incredible, crime-fighting, world-saving suit, a loving and loyal digital assistant/friend, and lots of other very cool gadgets. Yet his ego is huge, sometimes a quality of the Investor.
When unaware of their natures, Investors chance becoming greedy thrill-seekers. They can become erratic. Their daring behavior can become destructive and dangerous. Mildly dysfunctional Investors may become speculators, trying to predict the next hot investment, the next thing to make them rich. As a result, they put too much money into some investments and don’t make it back. More severely dysfunctional Investors can become addicted to epinephrine, or adrenaline, and love the highs that come from investments that pay off really well. Repeated stimulation of the adrenal gland will exhaust it making the natural high harder to get. Sometimes they can become addicted chemicals that make them feel a similar thrill which further exhausts and stresses the adrenal gland. The desire to experience the high of one more win is incredibly strong, and the resulting problems can far exceed those of a garden-variety Investor gone awry.
Investors find value in money, (and the rest of their currencies), when it makes more money.
Levers naturally seek enlightenment, synergy, and ways to make things easier. They understand that resources can be used to make daily life easier in an individual or family or group context and make business and cooperative initiatives easier in a wider social context. Levers will leverage what they have to raise themselves and others to a higher level. They understand the collective power of teamwork vs. the lesser power of one, and they appreciate collaborating with others who likewise bring their strengths to the team. Levers don’t always need to be superstars and can play a supporting role on sports teams and in other groups. Levers understand that sometimes reaching the next level requires letting go of what’s no longer needed. Like when Teddy Roosevelt broke up the Trust, the result was a reorganization of wealth, power, control, and creativity that made it possible to reach a higher, better economic level.
The essence of this nature is making things easier and working with others. However, when a Lever is solely concerned with their own best interests, they will manipulate others to make their own lives easier or less expensive. At their worst a dysfunctional Lever will attempt to enslave or exploit others. Like Tom Sawyer, who got others to paint the fence by making it seem fun, there are some Levers who sense gain for themselves and take advantage for others to get it, sometimes convincing others that they will gain something as well, and sometimes by force. Plantations that got wealthy because of the work of slaves, present-day sweatshops, brothels, and Ponzi schemes are extreme examples.
Levers find value in money, and their other currencies, when it makes life easier.
Guided by their highly developed intuition, Givers are our visionaries, leaders, and teachers. They are able to access quite naturally the flow state, becoming fully and happily immersed in what they’re doing with great focus and joy. Musicians, artists, and athletes are great examples. Dolly Parton has said, “Songwriting is my way of channeling my feelings and my thoughts. Not just mine, but the things I see, the people I care about. My head would explode if I didn’t get some of that stuff out.” Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Givers find value in their resources by giving them to others and making the world a better place. They volunteer their time, share their experiences with others, and give away their money, and typically have an abundance mind-set.
Givers can give so freely, they deplete themselves. They can give away all their money, give away all their time, and can even end up giving to people who don’t want their gifts! When Givers give away so much they have nothing left for themselves, they become martyrs. Givers can even have their heads so far in the clouds they can’t see what’s really going on around them. If a Giver is primarily concerned with him or herself, they’ll give to others as a way to make themselves feel good and be an important person. Givers can naturally envision the future, what’s coming along next, but sometimes they can’t get out of their own way to make it real. They can’t implement good ideas or make real their vision because the prospect of starting again, even at a higher level, is far too frightening. Some dysfunctional Givers are tragic, extremely gifted people in one regard but because they can’t integrate their gifts with realities of daily life, they lead unsuccessful, unhappy lives; they just can’t “get it together.” Though they know the value of giving, they do so in such a way that they put themselves on a path to destruction and ignore reality.
Givers find value in money, and/or their other currencies, when they give it to others.