Plain language requires less interpretation than icons. Just ask them.
Icons alone have been shown to be open to interpretation. Your current approach has 12 icons (plus 9 arrows) spread across 3 rows. Why not just ask the question?
Option 1: clickable statements
Replace the icon sequences with 3 statements (like you've stated above).
People don't want to ...
How I would approach this problem:
Layout: Browsing a grid (1) is much harder than a list, perhaps you can break it up.
Grouping: Information is much easier to understand when grouped
logically. I don't know your content, but you can probably form
groups. Then color code them, frame them, etc., make it subtle but obvious.
Text: centred text is hard to scan. ...
First note, as I think you discovered in your test, is that having a box appear on hover that contains interactive things like links can get you into trouble. You have to implement a directional tracking system for cursor movement to know when to keep it or close it and on the accessibility side keyboard users don't have a way to reach it. So, if it is going ...