3) MARLIS DOUGLAS: ABT Is Everywhere – And the benefit of taking the ABT course twice

‘… and you’re becoming the ultimate role model of someone who did the course once, got down the basics, and is now back for the second round where it’s connecting at a deeper level.’ (Randy Olson – January 2021).

Having the ABT-Cult Leader (aka Head Dodo) complimenting you as having potential to be a ‘role model’ is pretty neat. Though it should not go to one’s head – after all, I had to take the ABT course twice!

How this came about: After taking the course and trying to apply what I learned by attending working circles and doing ABT builds with my students, I quickly realized the key phrase from the ABT course describes it perfectly: It is simple, but it is not easy.

Taking the ABT course a second time was a total eye-opener. In each session – and during the many rounds I attended since, I had ‘light bulb’ moments. Bits and pieces of ‘I heard it but did not quite grasp’ (as per my Moment bit) suddenly made sense.

Excitedly, I often shared my new epiphanies with the ABT Head Dodo – prompting quote above.

Then, big ‘light bulb’ (envision blinding stadium lighting) went off when I realized that the ABT is Everywhere! All forms of communication that appealed to me were built with the ABT structure.

When ‘stuff makes sense to me’ I started recognizing the two basic features of the ABT Narrative framework: (1) Problem-Solution dynamic, and (2) KISAS = keep it short and simple (=as per The Narrative Gym). Obviously, it is unlikely that the KISAS acronym will be inducted into the standard ABT lingo – though it might resonate and could stick in people’s mind?

I now recognize the ABT framework in disparate forms of communication, such as:

Scrum – an agile problem-solution framework used in software development to coordinate tasks amongst teams and ensure progress. It’s based on the 3 questions using the past/present/future sequence:

  • What did not work yesterday?
  • What might prevent progress today?
  • What problems are anticipated for tomorrow?

To keep the meetings short (5 minutes) and focused, those without problems don’t speak up = KISAS.

Training Videos – there is a lot of ‘not-so-useful’ stuff to be found on the internet, but every once in a while one comes across a nugget. For me it was the AthleanX training videos program by Jeff Cavalier who has a huge following on YouTube – 12 Million subscribers are pretty solid data that he’s doing something right. Each video addresses one issue and uses relevant scientific information for the best solution. Classic ABT and also following the linear time line:

  • What have you been doing? (past + ordinary world)
  • Why is that wrong? (problem + special world)
  • Here is how to fix it? (solution + future, better world)

His stuff makes sense to me -I love it when he brings out the muscle marker (functional anatomy anyone?).