The 'pay-off' for positive behaviour was obvious to me. We indulge ourselves in good food and drink and we wear nice clothes, because these things feel good and have very few negative effects.
I could also understand the 'pay-off' for physically harmful things like smoking. Obviously the instant pleasure was a stronger influence than the spectre of some possible future health problem.
What I could not understand, for a long time, was WHY the subconscious should seek to prevent you from achieving something good which had no (obvious) negative effects. Why should your lack of Positive Self Image make you act in a way which was guaranteed to make you fail, hence make you feel more miserable and worthless and thereby RE-ENFORCE your NSI? It seemed like a vicious circle with no obvious reason or 'pay-off'.
I pondered over this for a long time without coming to a firm conclusion. It seemed to me to be an essential flaw in the argument, an irritating 'missing link'.
A behavioural psychologist could easily have answered my question for me, but at the time I didn't realise this. I had to read several psychology books before I found the answer.
The answer I found in those books may surprise you; it certainly
Put very simply, I believe the answer to be this: The subconscious mind doesn't really care a fig for 'happiness' as such. Happiness is an extremely abstract concept anyway.
A Zen monk is exceedingly happy sitting for long hours every day meditating, whereas you or I might be extremely unhappy doing this.
I might be happy running a large company, whereas this same situation could cause another person extreme distress.
You might be happy painting pictures all day long, but I might find the same thing tedious in the extreme.
I might think that I would be happy with a million pounds, but find that I was unhappy when I actually got it.
The subconscious mind COULDN'T CARE LESS about your goals, ambitions and dreams. It is REALLY NOT INTERESTED in your plans to become a millionaire or your ambitions to run your own chain of designer clothes shops. All these things are as illusory to the subconscious mind as your dreams are to your conscious mind!
The subconscious mind views the conscious mind as a whirlpool of thoughts, ambitions, hopes, half-formed ideas and sensory data and DOESN'T PAY MUCH ATTENTION to the detail - it finds it
Similarly, the conscious mind views the subconscious mind as a whirlpool of images, feelings emotions and dreams.
I was now on the trail of something big. If the subconscious mind doesn't give a damn about your 'success' or 'lack of success', (two extremely difficult concepts for the subconscious mind to grasp anyway), what does it care about?