The Bingo Theory: A revolutionary guide to love, life, and relationships - Mimi Ikonn (2016)
Part III. Bingo
"We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be whole."
- JANE FONDA
Chapter 8. BINGO! THE WINNING COMBINATION
I RECENTLY WATCHED a new version of the classic fairytale - Cinderella, on a flight back from New York. Most of us know the story of the poor country girl who is left in the care of a wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters. But in this version there was a line in it that I had not noticed before.
Just before she dies, Cinderella’s mother leans forward and says to her daughter: “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. You must always remember this. Have courage and be kind. Have courage and be kind, my darling.”
Cinderella takes this advice to heart. Throughout the film we see her being kind to everyone around her. She is kind to her stepmother, even though she’s vicious. She is kind to her stepsisters, even though they’re bullies. But kindness alone is not enough.
One day while she is out in the forest, escaping her mean stepsisters, Cinderella gets caught up in a hunt. Men from the palace are hunting a beautiful stag. Cinderella’s kindness makes it impossible for her to watch such cruelty, and so she stands up to the Prince and says, “What has this deer done to you? You’re frightening the life out of him. Please don’t hurt him.”
The Prince falls in love with her in that moment - the moment she is both courageous and kind.
As the story progresses, Cinderella goes to the ball and the Prince falls in love with her all over again. But her wicked stepmother tries to ruin the romance by locking Cinderella in the attic. Yet again, Cinderella is called upon to be courageous again. She stands up to her stepmother and tells her that she will never do as she says. Only then does she find happiness and love. The Prince finds her in the attic, and they live happily ever after.
When I watched that movie I was stunned. It struck me that kindness and courage are completely different things. Kindness comes from our feminine energy. Courage comes from the masculine.
Cinderella was taught from the earliest age that she needed to draw on both the masculine and the feminine energies. It’s not enough to just be kind; people will walk all over you. It’s also not enough to just be courageous. Courage can turn into aggression and violence, as it did with the Prince’s mindless hunting.
“Oh my God,” I thought. “Cinderella is a Bingo!”
A Bingo is when you balance your masculine and feminine energies. You are kind and courageous. Confident and caring. The power and magic lie in being both—and in knowing when to use the right energy at the right time.
This is the ultimate message of this book.
The Perfect 10
The people we admire on a global scale have a balance of both energies. People such as Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton are caring yet strong, creative yet decisive, vulnerable yet powerful. They followed their hearts and took action, even in the face of great danger. They were single-minded and yet driven by the greater good.
And if you were to describe your dream partner, how would you do it?
Guys often rate women when they meet them. A woman is a ten when she has a great body, long hair, beautiful eyes, nice skin—and when she has a strong and confident personality. She’s sensual and sexy, and yet she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and change a punctured wheel.
If you ask a lot of women what they want in a man, they’ll say they want a man who is powerful and successful but also sweet, romantic and caring. He’s a financial provider but he’s also there for the children. He’s an animal in bed but will also be a domestic God and help with the cooking and cleaning.
Again, these are two completely different qualities. Most guys who earn the big bucks are not the guys who make it home in time to cook you dinner.
And most women who lure you in with their feminine charms are not the women who you’ll find under a car bonnet.
These are combinations of masculine and feminine energies. At the end of the day, everybody’s looking for a Bingo.
Soon I will show you how to find that. But this book isn’t just about finding a partner. It’s about learning to be the best you that you can be, so that you can thrive in work, in life and in love.
The secret is that we have to accept and express both our masculine and feminine energies in order to live a full, productive, happy life. This is also our greatest challenge.
According to Joseph Campbell, the author of a number of famous books on comparative mythology, the hero of any story is always someone who uses both their masculine and feminine energy. In many myths the hero is even the offspring of the sun god (masculine energy) and the moon goddess (feminine energy). It’s his ability to draw on both the masculine energies of logic and courage and the feminine energies of caring and intuition that make him able to save the day when nobody else can.
When we learn to do the same, we too can be heroes.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a Bingo
Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci was a Bingo? He was a genius in both science (masculine) and art (feminine) and he was dedicated to both logic (masculine) and beauty (feminine). It’s believed that his left and right brain hemispheres were extremely well connected and this allowed him to think both logically and creatively.
Art experts argue that his portraits - most notable of which is the Mona Lisa - are so appealing because they contain the dual characteristics of masculine and feminine. Da Vinci, himself has even been described as being “somewhere between the masculine and the feminine.”
It’s been suggested that Albert Einstein also had high levels of connectivity between each hemisphere, allowing him to engage in “whole brain thinking.”
Research has shown that people who are leaders in their fields often display a balance of masculine and feminine energies. In a fascinating book— Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi observes that the world’s greatest creative talents tend to be psychologically androgynous.
Csikszentmihalyi explains that throughout time, men have been raised to be ‘masculine’ while women have been raised to be ‘feminine’. Creative people, however, seem to be the exception to this stereotyping. When tested as children, creative girls tend to be “more dominant and tough than other girls” while “creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.”
Csikszentmihalyi argues that this is a winning combination. Women artists and scientists use their masculine energy to get their work noticed, while creative men use their feminine energy to make them highly sensitive to the world and to relationships.
What you will gain by learning about you energies
While I cannot promise you that you will become the next Leonardo Da Vinci or Einstein, here’s what you will learn in the next few chapters.
If you are a Feminine Strength Person you will learn how to:
✵Take charge of your life, your career and your finances.
✵Stand up for yourself and articulate yourself calmly and directly.
✵Plan ahead, set goals and actually make your plans happen.
✵Replace feelings of fear with power; swap lethargy for energy.
The natural feminine qualities of empathy, creativity, love and intuition can be combined with the masculine qualities of action, focus, determination and confidence. And I will teach you how to achieve this winning combination.
If you are a Masculine Strength Person you will learn how to:
✵Get in touch with your emotions. Yes, you do have them, despite what you might think. And no, embracing your emotions will not make you weak.
✵Become more empathetic and connect with others by opening your heart.
✵Rest, sit still and relax. And this is not a sign of weakness, it’s a vital part of life - a time to re-charge and renew. A time when great ideas can come your way.
✵Let go and trust. You can’t control everything as much as you’d like to think you can. It’s when you let go and trust, that things happen as they are meant to happen.
The masculine qualities of clear-thinking, ambition, courage and action can be combined with the softer feminine qualities of love, connection and creativity. And this book will teach you how to achieve this winning combination.
And What About Relationships?
Later in the book, we will address what this means in terms of your relationships. For now, the important thing is to focus on yourself. Be assured, however, that once you are a Bingo, everything transforms. After all, Cinderella found her prince didn’t she? When you are a Bingo people will be drawn to you like a magnet because everybody wants to be around the perfect combination of masculine and feminine energies. And for those of you who are already in a relationship, learning to be a Bingo will enable you to have a happier, healthier relationship with your partner.
But Why Do We Need to Balance?
You might wonder why it is so important to be a balance of both masculine and feminine energies. Why don’t we just play to our strengths?
For example, if you’re a Masculine Strength Person who is decisive and ambitious, why don’t you just build on those skills? And if you’re a Feminine Strength Person who is kind and caring, why do you need to be ambitious or organized?
That’s certainly the approach most people take in life—they play to their strengths. Unfortunately it doesn't work.
Our strengths are our strengths only when they are used in moderation—without balance they become destructive.
Consider Yin and Yang again. Yin is water, Yang is sun. The Yang’s sun is a powerful source of energy and it gives us life. But without Yin’s water there would be drought and everything would die.
But how does this imbalance become destructive in real life?
Too Much Feminine = Depressed
To explain how an imbalance of energies can be destructive let’s catch up with Lily, our Feminine Strength Female and Chris, our Feminine Strength Male, to see what happened when they relied solely on their feminine energy.
Let’s start with Lily, who was drifting along at the interior design magazine where she’d worked for the past five years:
Lily’s magazine folded. She got a good pay off, which meant she didn’t have to rush to get another job, so she decided to take a bit of time off.
It was great at first - a dream life. She slept in, went to yoga and met friends for dinner. She didn’t keep tabs on how much she was spending, though. She wanted to enjoy the here and now.
Soon she was enjoying the ‘now’ a bit too much. Without work to get up for, a quiet dinner with friends somehow turned into an all-nighter. She was drinking a lot and sometimes taking drugs too. At night she had fun but the next day she’d feel depressed. Soon she went to the other extreme and stopped going out.
Lily knew she needed to start applying for jobs but she kept putting it off. As the months passed, she started to feel scared of going back into the working world. She signed up for self-development courses instead. She also read a lot about spirituality - shamanism was her current obsession. It was all very interesting but she was losing her grip on reality.
Some days she felt like she was drowning. She had too much time to think. She felt lost and alone. She began to cry most days and eat too much. She knew she needed to pull herself together and do something, but she never managed to.
When Feminine Strength People rely on their feminine energy alone a couple of things can happen. First they can become hedonistic, party people. After all, they are living in the moment, having fun, connecting! All this sounds great. But without proper structure such people get lost in their feelings and lose their grip on the outside world.
Then they go to the other extreme and become entirely introverted. They become paralyzed because they lack the masculine energy that drives action and structure. They stop doing and get stuck just being. Slowly this turns into isolation and depression.
They may be prone to eating and drinking their way through their feelings. Cookies-and-ice cream and red wine were all invented for Feminine Strength People in a major slump - as were self-help books.
Too much feminine energy causes you to be passive and to look to others for leadership. However, endlessly reading books about astrology, shamanism and the law of attraction won’t pay your credit card bills. Self-help books are great if you actually do what they suggest; otherwise, they are another form of procrastination.
The extreme feminine energy can manifest in other ways as well.
Let’s catch up with Chris, our Feminine Strength Male, who also relied too heavily on his feminine energy.
After five years of talking about leaving his graphic design job to start his own business, Chris finally took the plunge. He had a great idea for a new dating site and when his grandmother died, leaving him some inheritance, he decided to seize the day and quit his job.
He was excited at first. He got flashy business cards made and bought a new laptop. He didn’t have a business plan as such; he was just going to wing it. He had the idea and the enthusiasm - that was enough, right?
A couple of months in, reality started to hit. First of all, he couldn’t decide on the name for the site. Everyone had different opinions and he couldn’t figure out which was best. Plus, working with the development team was a nightmare - they kept asking for direction and he didn’t know what to tell them. He felt overwhelmed by choices. He didn’t know what the right thing to do was - he wanted someone else to tell him.
After a year working on his site it still wasn’t live and his money had run out. He couldn’t afford his rent so he gave up his apartment and moved home. His father laughed at him. He told him it was time to stop dreaming and come back to the family tiling business to earn some money. He felt humiliated. So much for the big dream - he was now working for the family business, listening to his dad lecture him on what a loser he was.
In Chris’s case, relying only on his feminine energy resulted in a failed business. Chris had a great idea but he didn’t have the confidence, energy or focus (which come from our masculine energy) to make it into a reality. He couldn’t make decisions and soon got overwhelmed.
Feminine Strength People want someone else to take charge. This can be a problem when you’re the boss. They constantly look for reassurance and think that other people’s opinions of them are right. When Chris’s dad doubted him, Chris believed his dad’s view and gave up too quickly. Feminine Strength People can be quick to go into ‘Poor Me’ victim mode and find it hard to stand up for themselves.
Too Much Feminine Energy Can Cause You to Be:
Too Much Masculine Energy = Burnout
So what happens on the other end of the spectrum—when you let only your masculine energy run the show?
Remember Chloe? Our Masculine Strength Female from a few chapters back? Here’s what happened to her when she worked solely from her masculine energy.
After 8 years of working 15-hour days in her law practice, Chloe was getting close to being made a junior partner. All the hard work was paying off. But it didn’t make her any happier.
The truth was she had become perpetually angry and bitter. Most days, she found herself shouting at people in the office, even making one of the assistants cry. But for God’s sake, she thought, why can’t these girls have some backbone? What’s wrong with everyone? Does nobody else care about doing a good job? It was fine for the men, who all hang out in their old boy’s network, but she had to be tougher if she was going to hold her own.
And it wasn’t like she had someone at home looking after her, the way they do. Her personal life was non-existent. Sometimes she went on dates but none of the guys were clever enough for her. All her friends were busy in the suburbs with their husbands and children. She told herself that she didn’t want what they had but she didn’t know if that was true.
Chloe spent her thirtieth birthday alone in the office, working late.
She had birthday plans with her parents but they cancelled—they were also working. Once again she got the message that she was not as important as their careers.
That night, on her ride back to her empty apartment she found herself looking into bars and restaurants with people smiling and laughing and talking with friends. She couldn’t remember the last time she had done that. She couldn’t remember the last time she had left the office before midnight. She was lonely. Very, very lonely.
Using her masculine energy worked for Chloe in many ways. She was on her way to becoming one of the youngest partners at her law firm and she had great financial success. But it came at a price.
Chloe had always been a kind and loyal person, but over the years she had become angry and bitter. She was impatient with colleagues and pushed away the people who loved her by always putting work first.
Chloe never allowed herself time to stop and look at the big picture. She never asked herself the big questions like whether or not she wanted to start a family, or what she really wanted from life. Those things were too uncomfortable to think about and so she did what she always did—she pushed down her feelings of loneliness and focused on the next rung of the ladder.
Andrew, our Masculine Strength Male, had a very similar but more intense experience. He was working round the clock at the bank, and like Chloe he was very successful - on paper at least.
When Andrew turned thirty, he knew he was at a crossroad. He could either keep doing what he was doing -working hard, playing hard and sleeping around - or he could settle down, as some of his friends were.
He chose to keep doing what he was doing. After all, he was living the dream, right? In fact, he decided to put more hours in at work and set the insane target of doubling his bonus next year.
For the next two years, Andrew worked 24/7. He flew around the world in business class and signed major deals. He was the young hot shot. He bought expensive cars, a high-class apartment and had the best of everything.
He was developing a reputation for being brutal at work but he didn’t care - he did what needed to be done. He didn’t have time to worry about other people’s feelings - if they couldn’t take it, they should not be there.
He also didn’t have time for a relationship - or at least that’s what he told himself - so he kept himself to one-night stands. They were almost too easy to find. He was a good-looking guy with a lot of money - he could pick women up anywhere. Soon he started to despise the girls he was with - he had no respect for them. Although, to be honest, he didn’t have respect for many people anymore. Andrew’s arrogance has become extreme. Everything around him pointed to the fact that he was simply better than everyone else.
But Andrew’s hyper pace of lifestyle began to take its toll. After a couple of years he began to have problems sleeping. He found it hard to focus at work and couldn’t think straight. He started forgetting things. He had a hard time getting up in the morning.
Then, one day he had a panic attack on a flight. He couldn’t understand why - he’d been on hundreds of flights. What was happening?
Both Chloe and Andrew decided it was easier to use their masculine energy, rather than work on their feminine energy. And in a lot of ways that worked for them - they were incredibly productive and successful. But they also led very empty lives.
When Masculine Strength People rely only on their masculine energy, they go after external goals or achievements irrespective of anything else. They go after money and status.
The result is that they burn out. We need our feminine energy in order to love and care for ourselves and for others. Without it, Masculine Strength People can self-destruct.
They also tend to cut themselves off from people. Because they are cut off from their heart and feelings they become cold, insensitive and emotionally closed off, reckless, overly-critical and aggressive. In fact, when it’s not balanced with feminine energy, the masculine energy is often connected with heart problems.
Too Much Masculine Energy Can Cause You to Be:
At risk of burnout
So having looked at these four examples, we can see it doesn’t work to just play to our strengths. If we do that our strengths can destroy us.
When Masculine Strength People don’t use their feminine energy they become disconnected from their feelings. They don’t know how to love themselves or others. They can become angry, aggressive and obsessed with work. They’re unable to find peace.
Without using their masculine energy, Feminine Strength People don’t know how to stand up for themselves and make their way through the world. They can be paralyzed by fear and lost in their feelings.
We need both energies in order to have a fulfilled life. We need action and stillness, thinking and feeling, outward focus and inward focus.
Let’s return to the fairy tale. If Cinderella relied solely on her kindness she would still be locked up in the attic with her wicked stepmother. If the Prince hadn’t learned to be kind, he’d be out hunting animals by day and partying by night, slowly turning into a cold, aggressive, heartless man. And that’s not a happy ending, is it?
We need to use both the masculine and feminine energy in our lives- and the good news is we have both. It’s just that one has become more developed in us through either nature or conditioning. The purpose of this book is to teach you how to balance your masculine and feminine energies so that you can use both equally and live a full and happy life; so that you can become your own hero or heroine.
How do we do that? Read on.