Success is the ability to define your state in your current situation, no matter what is happening. I am confident that we would agree that accomplishments without the experience of a lasting positive state (happiness, joy, power) is not really success, or at best it may provide a fleeting taste of success.
Consider the executive who makes millions of dollars yet experiences daily anger and guilt or the valedictorian who graduates with daily sadness and fear. Perhaps they experience a few moments or a day of happiness and rest because of a particular great accomplishment, such as closing a major sale or graduating. But once the emotional experience of success fades and is replaced by unhappiness or guilt, there is no longer success.
People may be highly accomplished in terms of tasks, revenue, and outcomes, but without the lasting experience of joy, happiness, excitement, or other love-based emotions, we cannot consider them truly successful.
Success, to me, is defined as the intentional choice and cultivation of the desired love-based states that we then carry through any valley and over any mountain top. Success is our general experience of life rather than a momentary life experience.
Compare to the executive who comes into her work with a chosen state of excitement and feeling powerful. She closes a major deal and reaps financial rewards and knows excitement and feels powerful. Or perhaps the major deal falls apart for one reason or another. She is able to take full accountability for the outcome and define a path to move forward while continuing to experience excitement and power, because her state is not contingent on what is happening around her.
The usual approach is to experience success as an emotional high that we earn through a particular accomplishment or series of accomplishments. We all seek to be “successful” because we want to feel certain, positive ways. We want to feel a rush of power or feel the excitement of a victory. But the usual approach forgets that we always and already have the capacity to choose and cultivate any emotional state here and now and to intentionally experience any chosen state before, during, and after whatever we do or do not accomplish.
This is where State Design comes in. State Design is the work of intentionally choosing, defining, and cultivating of our optimal states. It is developing the ability to choose and maintain any love-based, positive state that we want in and through any situation. With basic tools, awareness, and routine practice, anyone can design their state and experience successful life.