One of the ideas that the pick up artist community obsesses itself about is the idea of emotional state and state control. The idea is basically two-fold: 1) that the better of an emotional state you’re in, the less anxiety and inhibitions you’ll feel, and 2) that the higher emotional state you’re in, the more you’ll raise the girl’s emotional state and increase her attraction for you.
As I’ve stated previously, a burgeoning player who is dependent on his emotional state to meet and pick up women is the tell-tale sign of a guy of Intermediate skill-level with women. When the guy feels great, he does great — his anxiety at going up to a girl dissipates, his conversations are spontaneous and exciting, his non-verbal behavior is expressive and emotional; women love him. When the guy is “out of state”, or he feels dull, tired, bored, anxious, or apathetic, then he usually stands around sipping his beverage of choice, looking at women but not feeling too impelled to do anything.
The idea is that anxiety and emotional fatigue leads to low state and that aspiring players should all try to be in the highest state possible at all times. Enter: the concept of “state control,” taught across hundreds of bootcamps and coaching weekends over the last four years (including at one time my own). State control is the practice of synthetically propelling oneself into a “high state” by doing something that makes you feel great about yourself and feel totally NOT in your own head while you go out to meet women. This is a very powerful practice, especially for guys who have never been “in state” before… the first time is usually the most powerful. In fact, there’s a particular PUA company that literally teaches its bootcamps as nothing but ways of getting their students to feel “in state,” thus giving them great short-term results.
In my 15 Things I Learned as a PUA article, I listed “state control” as being “vastly overrated.” Of everything I listed in that article as being overrated or unimportant, this is the one item that received the most backlash, confusion and guffawing. Allow me to explain…
Back in 2007-2008, I would have sworn by state control. In fact, like I mentioned, I used to dedicate a large part of my coaching programs to it. During that two-year period, I took it VERY seriously. My roommate and I had all sorts of rituals to “get us into state.” We tried everything. Pre-parties, certain types of music, dancing, drinking alcohol, not drinking alcohol, energy drinks, warm up approaches, meditative exercises, going out earlier, going out later, etc., etc. We were obsessed with our state.
And here’s the dirty truth… none of that stuff works in the long-run. Most of it will work for one night, maybe five nights, possibly even 10 or 20. But the reality is it only works as long as it feels like something new and exciting. That’s the only real “state pump:” new experience and old. We’d try embarrassing ourselves: doing push-ups on the dance floor, jumping jacks in front of the bar, generally making ourselves look like idiots. And it worked once or twice, but it stopped working after that.
Here’s what ACTUALLY determines your emotional state when you go out: your diet, how much you slept the night before, the amount of stress in your life, your reasons for going out, what you have to do the next day. Most of your state is derivative of basic biological functioning.
State is paradoxical as well. When you go out and are not in state, what’s the first thing that you think? “Shit, I need to get into state.” So you do something, and it doesn’t help at all, forcing you to fall back into a bad state. This state obsession actually promotes low state because you’re obsessed and concerned about your emotional pangs, itself a negative emotional pang.
Like I said, every guy who’s been doing this for a year or two knows exactly what I’m talking about. And I’m here to tell you that ultimately, state’s a trap.
The Intermediate level guy depends on state because his baseline confidence and social skills still aren’t up to snuff, so he needs that burst of emotion to “fake it.” If he doesn’t have that burst of emotion, he falls back to his normal anxious self. As a result, the perception of state is what in psychology is referred to as a base rate fallacy. A base rate fallacy is that when we perceive something to be very beneficial to a level of success, we always tend to underestimate the level of success without it. In this case, emotional state proves to be so beneficial to the success of guys with lukewarm game, that they vastly underestimate how good their success-level would be without it, and therefore overestimate its value.
What I do these days is simply acknowledge my state, no matter what it is, and go on with my night. If I feel shitty, I’ll just hang out and chill. Plenty of opportunities still present themselves when I feel like crap and I’m amazed that I didn’t recognize them years ago, I guess I was too busy being in my head worrying about how crappy I felt. But I can say that some of the coolest women and best romantic experiences in the last couple years have come when I’ve gone out feeling like crap, not caring if I talked to anybody, not wanting to put in any effort, etc.
Just because you’re having an off-night doesn’t mean women don’t want to talk to you, that you don’t have something to offer, that you’re not still the cool and amazing guy that you are normally. I actually think that state control obsession is a way of compensating for this — what I’m saying is, guys obsess about being “in state” when they feel like women wouldn’t like them otherwise, like they have to bring some amazing enthusiasm to the table or else they won’t get the time of day.
It’s true. If you’ve got your lifestyle together and have built good social habits then state hardly matters. If it’s there, it’s a welcome bonus and just makes things that much easier. If it’s not, then who cares… either she’ll like you for you or for nothing at all.