This week, we posted a great interview with a special friend of Love University, Bob Eckstein, America’s beloved cartoonist, humorist, and New York Times bestselling author. Through his funny tales and whimsical sense of humor, we learned some valid truths about love and life, as follows:
*Humor is a Turn-On: Research shows that having a sense of humor can attract a romantic partner. We tend to recognize humor as a sign of intelligence, which is also an attractive trait to have in a mate. Moreover, when we laugh, we release the hormone cortisol, which lowers our stress level and makes us feel better. It’s true that we like to be around others who make us laugh. If you’re single, expand your “funny muscles”—go to comedy clubs, listen to the best comedians, read funny books, take an improv (improvisational acting) class. Try writing someone of your own jokes and humorous stories, and practice them first on people you know and trust. Then, tell them to people you don’t know. Eventually, you can become a funnier person who brings light and joy to others—and can potentially attract someone who resonates with your sense of humor.
*Marry Your Enemy and Get Them to Love You: In Bob’s case, he met his wife in college, but they were “competitive enemies” who disliked each other. 12 years later, they reconnected by random at a funeral and the romantic sparks flew between them—today they are very much in love and happily married. According to Gottman’s groundbreaking research on marriage success, couples who fight and have conflicts don’t necessarily get divorced or have bad marriages. Sometimes, the passion in the relationship sparks conflict, but the happy couples are equally skilled at defusing and softening conflicts (humor, a timely physical touch) so that it doesn’t escalate into something mean-spirited and hurtful. Some differences, and even conflict at times, can add a touch of energy and passion to a relationship as long as the couple fully understand and respect each other, and place each other first in each other’s hearts.
*Look for the Joy and Wonder in the World: Bob wrote two well-received books on topics he was passionate about: bookstores and snowmen. He traveled around the US finding small independent bookstores and interviewing the owners—learning about the passion they had for that endangered species: the brick-and-mortar bookstore. Then, he spent 7 years traveling around the world—museums and libraries—to discover the history of the snowman (figure made from snow). He learned that prehistoric man made snowmen as a form of communication—covering a variety of topics from social to political. Also, according to Bob, going to a snowy place, and making a snowman, can have therapeutic benefits. You can recapture the childhood spontaneity of play and develop your creativity. According to Bob, all of us can benefit by making a snowman at some point in our life.
Bob’s message is simple, but powerful: Find your passion and become an expert at it, whether it’s cooking, writing, gardening, meditation, exercise, art, technology, and so on. You can do it for a living or just for fun. The key is to learn as much as you can about your passion, and immerse yourself in the thing you are most fascinated about. It’s true: the more you practice and apply your passion in your daily life, the happier and more joyful you will feel, and the more love you can give to yourself and others.