Imagine that we live in a world where almost everyone sees in 2-D, yet a few see in 3-D. But, there is a possibility for people who see in 2-D to see in 3-D.

  • Who is going to think and operate more effectively?
  • In such a world, can you imagine that those who see in 2-D won’t have a great desire to see in 3-D because:
    • They may be unsure that it is possible to see in 3-D
    • Everybody else seems to be getting by just fine in 2-D
    • They have seen in 2-D their whole life, and the proposition of seeing in 3-D may seem scary because it would change everything

Welcome to our world!


Here is the reality: 90% of how people think, feel, judge, and act are driven by non-conscious automatic processes. And, most people never investigate and awaken to their non-conscious automatic processes.

When people stay non-conscious to their automatic processes, they are effectively living in 2-D. They are able to see and process across height and width, but they are unable to see and process depth.

But, when people become conscious to their automatic processes, they enable themselves to see and process in 3-D: height, width, and depth.

As you consider the difference between seeing in 2-D and 3-D, it might be helpful to consider the following story from a book called Flatland, which Jonathan Haidt quotes in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis (which is where I got it).


“Flatland is a two-dimensional world whose inhabitants are geometric figures. The protagonist is a square. One day, the square is visited by a sphere from a three-dimensional world called Spaceland.

When a sphere visits Flatland, however, all that is visible to Flatlanders is the part of the sphere that lies in their plain—in other words, a circle. The square is astonished that the circle is able to grow or shrink at will (by rising or sinking into the plane of Flatland)… The sphere tries to explain the concept of the third dimension to the two-dimensional square, but the square, though skilled at two-dimensional geometry, doesn’t get it. He cannot understand what it means to have thickness in addition to height and breadth, nor can he understand that the circle came from up above him, where “up” does not mean from the north… The square finds the idea of moving “up” out of the plane of Flatland ridiculous.

In desperation, the sphere yanks the square up out of Flatland and into the third dimension so that the square can look down on his world and see it all at once… The square recalls the experience:

“An unspeakable horror seized me. There was darkness; then a dizzy, sickening sensation of sight that was not like seeing; I saw space that was not space; I was myself, and not myself. When I could find voice, I shrieked aloud in agony, “Either this is madness or it is Hell.” “It is neither comly replied the voice of the sphere, “it is Knowledge; it is Three Dimensions; open your eye once again and try to look steadily.” I looked, and, behold, a new world!”

Moving from 2-D to 3-D

In order for us to move from 2-D to 3-D, we need to become conscious to our mindsets, because it is our mindsets that drive our non-conscious automatic processing.

Our mindsets are the mental lenses that perform three jobs:

  1. Filter select information into our brains processing (because our brain gets way more information and signals than it can physically process)
  2. Interprets that filtered information in unique ways
  3. Activates the different aspects about ourselves (e.g., personality, talents, self-regulatory processes) to best navigate the situation based upon the information absorbed and how it is interpreted

For most of us, our mindsets operate non-consciously. For example, if we have a fixed mindset (don’t believe we can change our talents, abilities, or intelligence), we will nonconsciously interpret failure as though we are a failure. But, if we have a growth mindset (do believe we can change our talents, abilities, or intelligence), we will nonconsciously interpret failure as an opportunity to learn and gro.

But, it is possible to become conscious of this processing.

And, when we do, we generally have a similar experience as the square in the Flatland story. At first, it can be a little horrific because we will likely learn that our nonconscious mindsets have caused us to operate that is less than our ideal selves.

But, if we can get over that initial horror, the benefits are what the sphere talked about: knowledge and seeing a whole new world.

If we can awaken to our mindsets, we will shift from seeing the world in 2-D to seeing it in 3-D, and will naturally be able to navigate our world much better, and much more effectively.

Do You Want to Shift From Seeing in 2-D to seeing in 3-D?

To help you awaken to your nonconscious mindsets, I have a few options for you:

  1. Take this FREE Personal Mindset Assessment
  2. Buy my Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling book: Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership
  3. Watch this free webinar: 3 Steps to Uncovering a Major Blind Spot that Could Be Sabotaging Your Life
  4. See this blog post: Want to Elevate or Transform Your Life? It Will Require You to Become More Mentally Mature