The Story Hacker Podcast with Nick Ovalle

This is Storytelling on steroids.
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The Story Hacker Podcast with Nick Ovalle





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Mar 16, 2021

In this podcast, we look at four principles that will help us stay creative even when we feel we don't have the juice!

Mar 15, 2021

Do you ever feel distracted or unmotivated to finish tasks? In this podcast, we talk about an equation to help you determine how you can best stay motivated and engaged. 

Jan 27, 2021

This podcast is the re-recording of a talk I gave at a leadership summit in 2021. Hope you enjoy it. 

May 6, 2020

In this podcast, we talk about control issues and how to remedy them with confidence. 

May 1, 2020

Thanks you to Audible for sponsoring this podcast, check out for a free audio book and 30 day trial of audible.

In this podcast we discuss the curse of knowledge and building better teams with stories.

Apr 14, 2020

In this podcast we story hack Jim Collin's Good to Great!

Apr 1, 2020

In this podcast, we talk about why toilet paper is being purchased in mass amounts. How to find and be a guide for others and why internal narrative still matters in uncertain times. 

Dec 10, 2019

In this podcast, we explore story hacks to grow your influence and hack the internal narrative to see better ways we can grow our currency for change. 

Sep 28, 2018

Get the discussion guide at

Aug 31, 2018

In this podcast we look at the story presidential candidates tell, How Hollywood intentionally messes with your head and how you can get people to lean in when you speak.

Jul 31, 2018

In this podcast we talk about being bored, finding some enemies and writing a manifesto. 

Jul 12, 2018

In this podcast, we talk about Fundamentalism, deconstructivism and a narrative of empathy. 

Nov 8, 2016
Today we are talking about three sure fire ways to reach your goals.
You may have heard me tell Jane McGonigals’ story before.
On her way to finishing her PHD in Game Design 
Jane was in a major accident in 2009. A concussion left her with a lot of complications. She constantly had a headache, was fatigued, couldn’t read, type of look at a screen of any type. 
Jane fell into a depression because her life was put on halt. She physically couldn’t do what she loved and devoted her life to doing. 
Her outcome is astonishing. She used the principles of Game Design and applied them to her life to to get better, reach her goals and have fun doing it.
She documents the accident in her book Superbetter.
Why do I tell you this story?
Jane is a huge proponent of Self Efficacy. 
What is self Efficacy you may ask. 
Basically SE is your belief in yourself to accomplish your goals.
Psychologist show the more you believe in yourself accomplishing your goals, the more you will accomplish your goals. 
Novel Idea.
But what happens if you are not feeling it? 
What happens if your body won’t let you accomplish your goals?
Here are three hacks to help you build self efficacy and defeat the narrative of being self effacing. 
Hack number one comes straight from Jane’s book super better.
In the book Jane tells a story of a woman who tricked herself into exercising, and being social even though those 2 traits where not in her wheel house.
How did she do it?
You may laugh at this but she started playing an online game called the sims.
The sims is an online simulation game of life. You can create an avatar and make the avatar act in certain ways. The game prompts you to take certain actions to make your avatar feel well. 
A huge part of “winning’ in the sims is how your avatar feels. 
Things like food, exercise and social interactions helps your sim feel good. And the computer prompts you to make your character feel good.
There is one huge caveat to why this works. 
The virtual human interaction lab founded by Dr Jermey Balinson shows self efficacy grows when you watch an avatar of yourself do the action in which you want to do. 
The tactic is called Vicarious exercise. 
Participants in a study who watched an avatar that looked like themselves exercised for a whole hour more than those who didn’t. They walked more, took the stairs more often and spent more time at the gym.
In order for this hack to work, your avatar has to look just like you. 
This creates what Scientist call a  mirror neuron effect. 
Mirror neurons mimic the brain activity of people around us. because the participants felt closer to the avatar because it looked like them, they in experienced the mirror neuron effect. 
Go play the sims, make a character that looks just like you and watch them work.
Hack #2 is a little more straight forward. Its called Minimum Viable Product / Minimum Viable Progress.
Think about the goal you want to achieve.
Next you identify the most important aspect of that goal. 
If you are wanting to create something you want to focus on a minimum viable product. What ever you create you are only focusing on one feature, the most important thing.
If you are wanting to reach a personal goal where there is no product, like loose weight, you want to focus on a minimum viable progress.
Say your goal is to start a business. A MVP is the one thing you would offer starting today. 
If you dream is to open a gym, jump right to one thing you can do to add value to your customer today. 
So a dream of a gym is out of the picture, but offering a running group that meets twice a week is something you can do today and charge for. You are now one step closer to your goal.
If you are wanting to change something about yourself, or your surroundings, focusing on a minimum viable progress looks like finding the one thing that will make the most difference. 
If it is loosing weight, commit to one thing like eating the same boring salad and tuna for lunch. or 5 minutes of burpees every morning. 
If you are writing a book, just commit 15 mins to writing every morning and don’t touch it for the rest of the day. 
MVPs work because it free’s your brain of having to burn calories of planning a huge process, and never having to accomplish it because you spent all that mental work on preparation and don’t have any willpower left over to actually do it.
Willpower is a finite resource, MVPs maximize your willpower as a resource.
Hack #3 is to implement what I call the one touch timer.
I use an app on my computer and phone called Comodoro One and commit to work in a cycle of 25 mins of work and a 5 minute break. 
I make sure I commit to finish the work in one touch. I will not come back to it, so If I don’t finish it, I ship it out half baked. 
Half baked is looked down upon in our society, but perfectionism keeps us from reaching our goals. 
I like to embrace the truism Done is better than perfect. 
If I commit to a one touch timer I have to stick to it. This has helped with finishing small projects, making sure I don’t overcomplicate things with perfectionism and makes sure I focus on my most valuable resource, my time.
So to recap:
Hack #1 - Watch an avatar to build self efficacy.
Hack #2 - Find a Minimum Viable Product or Progress to get you started.
Hack #3 - Use the One Touch Timer method and ship a half baked product rather than not shipping.
You can follow me on all social media @nick_ovalle.
Until we chat again, I hope you live a great story. 
Jun 23, 2016
Today Episode is called "A simple formula for narrative: Four Tips for Character Development." 
In this episode we will talk about 4 quick tips for character development and three ways we can incorporate these tips across different disciplines. 
May 24, 2016

This podcast was recorded at a talk I gave at a Church. Thanks for listening! 

May 11, 2016
Today Episode is called "Empathy vs Limbic Abduction"
We will be discussing:
  1. A Limbic Abduction and what that means
  2. Marketing to The Limbic System
  3. Empathy as an answer to conflict
Quick disclaimer, I am not a medical professional and any methods, ideas discussed on this podcast are not intended to be a treatment for any medical or psychological ailment.  
May 6, 2016

In this episode we talk about the Story of Pain. Specifically we talk about what to do with our pain, a paradigm shift we should never make and how to listen. 



Apr 28, 2016
This is Episode #6 The Story Killer. 
In this podcast we talk about: heliocentricism, paradigm and singularity.

We talk about Galileo's story and how the story of a black whole looks a whole lot our inner narrative.
Apr 22, 2016
This is Episode #5 Math to Live By
In this podcast we talk about: What matters most.
From Victor Frankl to the art only you can do. Today's podcast isn't fun but oh so helpful!
Apr 21, 2016
This is Episode #4 Flow Towards Tension:
In this podcast we talk about:
  1. Kanye West’s hit Through The Wire
  2. The Japanese story hack for shifting paradigm
  3. The paradox that allows us to embrace happiness. 
Apr 14, 2016

Hey Friends,


In this episode we talk about getting started in storytelling. The easiest way to get started is to create a logline. Loglines have helped people, organizations and stories define what they are about and why they exist. In this episode we talk about why you should have a logline and how to get started implementing them into your story.



Apr 8, 2016

In this podcast we talk about a pirate, our prefrontal cortex and reseting the problem solving loop. 

Apr 4, 2016

In this podcast we talk about the tragic death that inspired an iconic american dream. Why storytelling works and three ways storytelling effects the brain. Learn about optimal state of learning, reality defining story and hacking the brains defense system, all in under 10 minutes. 

Check out my crowdfunding page for my book the StoryTelling Heart: