How well do you know your mind?

1D 2D 3D Mind Framework & Quiz

The 1D 2D 3D Mind framework (introduced in Enduring Edge, the Mind Tool Box, and below) describes three states of mind in which we tend to think. While we each use all three states, we can only be in one at a time and default to some more than the others. The Mind Quiz has 10 questions, takes ~2 minutes, and reveals whether you tend to default to the 1D, 2D, or 3D state of mind:

The result of the Quiz, combined with the 1D 2D 3D Mind framework, reveals how we can harness the strengths and conquer the weaknesses of each state of mind to gain an enduring edge in how we use our mind. For:

“True intelligence rests not in mastering any one dimension of our mind but in balancing how we use all three.”

-Enduring Edge



The 1D mind is our most primal state of mind and driven by basic impulses and instincts. Committed to a singular mission—our survival—it directs our focus to the urgent and short-term. Ever on alert for threats—real and imagined—the 1D mind harbors the ‘fight or flight’ or stress response and emotional reactions such as anxiety and fear. It is guided by inputs from our senses, emotional reactions, and our past experiences. While the 1D mind is critical for survival, most of us tend to overuse it, falling prey to its weaknesses.


The 2D mind is the seat of our rational and analytical thinking capabilities—our intellect. It relies on data and tangible, measurable inputs to guide analysis and decisions. The 2D mind is responsible for much of our productivity and progress in the world. The 2D mind’s weakness is that it can lead to an over-reliance on data or analysis paralysis in solving complex challenges that require more creative and intuitive thinking. The 2D mind is also the seat of our ego, which tends to introduce judgment and binary (us vs. them) thinking into the mind.


The 3D mind is the source of our intuition, insights, and innovative and creative potential. It leads us to discover our passion, purpose and meaning and fosters compassion, empathy and connection. When we are in the 3D state, we lose track of time, place and self and experience deep inner calm, serenity and joy (i.e. being in flow or in the zone). The 3D mind is the catalyst for lasting change and the secret power of true leaders, visionaries, artists, innovators and change agents. Most of us use the 3D mind much less than possible.

One way to think about the three states of mind is with this simple analogy. Imagine you are visiting a new city:


Being in the 1D mind is akin to driving a car through the city. It’s fast and efficient, yet what you learn is limited because you are confined to roads.


Being in the 2D mind is akin to being a pedestrian. You can wander in and out of shops and restaurants and talk to locals, gaining a deeper, more nuanced experience.


Being in the 3D mind is akin to taking a helicopter ride. You gain a new perspective on the city, which an on-the-ground view cannot reveal.

To learn more visit the following sections in Enduring Edge:

For a deeper dive into the 1D 2D 3D Mind Framework and details on each of the three states of mind, read Chapters 3-6.

To learn how to harness the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of each of the three states of mind read Chapters 7–10.

To explore how to train your mind and apply these principles to how you live, work, and lead, read Chapters 11–15.