077: Penny Locaso on hacking happiness

Season #8 Episode #77

Penny Locaso is the world’s first Happiness Hacker on a quest to teach 10 million humans by 2025 how to flourish in life.

Voted one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in Australia, Penny works with governments, educators and the likes of Google, Microsoft, Deloitte, and LuluLemon, to empower people to release their fear of uncertainty, and build a more intentionally adaptable society.

Penny created the world-first Intentional Adaptability Quotient® (IAQ®) psychometric tool, which decodes the skills required to not only navigate but flourish in complex and uncertain change. She’s the author of Hacking Happiness, a Harvard Business Review contributor, a passionate yoga teacher, a faculty member at the esteemed Singularity University, and a student of psychology and trauma-informed therapy with world-renowned teacher Gabor Mate.

In this episode we chat about:

  • Penny’s definition of  happiness, embracing emotional diversity and learning how to navigate a range of emotions effectively.
  • that women often suppress negative emotions due to societal expectations, which can lead to issues like anger being misplaced.
  • the concept of "Angry Mum Syndrome," a term she's exploring to understand how women deal with suppressed anger
  • challenges faced by women who often take on excessive responsibilities, delving into the "Martyr Mother Syndrome" and the need for better communication within families.
  • the relationship between productivity and happiness and that the traditional concept of productivity, often associated with constantly doing more, has become problematic.
  • the importance of self-care, taking micro-breaks, and recharging mental resources to maintain well-being.
  • that while humans are naturally good at adapting, much of this adaptation happens unconsciously.
  • the Intentional Adaptability Quotient, a psychometric tool she developed with the goal of empowering people to adapt intentionally,  which measures a person's level of intentional adaptability and allows individuals to assess their adaptability skills and identify areas for improvement.
  • removing the word "should" from your vocabulary and replacing it with "I want” to shift the focus from external pressures to personal desires, allowing individuals to prioritize tasks that align with their values and needs.
  • the key skills that constitute intentional adaptability - these include:
    • focus -  essential for dealing with distractions
    • courage - using fear constructively
    • curiosity - maintaining a sense of wonder and exploration
  • two practical strategies for promoting happiness and well-being
    • device-free family dinners, providing a platform for open communication and connection
    • a practice called "Rose Rose Thorn Stem Bud," where family members share positive and negative experiences of their day, fostering emotional expression and understanding.
  • the relevance of intentional adaptability in the context of neurodiverse individuals, and Penny emphasizes the potential for growth and development in everyone.


Hacking Happy

Follow Penny on LinkedIn


Please head to our  Facebook, Insta or Linked In pages to connect with us and share your thoughts, questions or suggestions.