Wow!!! This looks vicious. It is pretty funny but then quite harrowing when you see the injuries this poor guy sustains. On Christmas Day too! We are pleased to inform you that the Play Station 4 was not harmed in the making of this video.
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Have you ever been so totally, wonderfully engrossed in a task that you lost all sense of the world around you? Did time itself appear to fall away as, just for a while, you had your own universe entirely for yourself and whatever you were doing? If so, then you have experienced the psychological state of flow. Originally defined by the wonderfully-named Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, flow describes a condition of total pleasurable engrossment in a task to the exclusion of awareness of surroundings, time and distractions. In some ways, it’s the same as being “in the zone” but on steroids.
I mention flow because I was thinking recently about some of the best gifts I’ve ever received. What was it that made them so memorable? When I was 16 my parents bought me a guitar. I was completely blown away. I loved it immediately and became absolutely obsessed with learning to play. One particular day I remember suddenly being aware that my fingers were bleeding and that it was dark outside – my perception of time and even of pain had melted away through complete engrossment – what I now know to be flow.
The flow state was characterised by Csikszentmihályi as “the optimal experience" because it results in a level of extremely high gratification, at least partly because of the complete exclusion of negative feelings and stress during the flow condition. Therefore, for those of us with any stress or worry in our lives (and let’s face it, that’s all of us) achieving flow state can be an extremely effective form of relaxation and health-promotion.
So how can you achieve flow state? Research suggests that not just any old activity will work. As with many great things in life there’s a formula to follow and it really boils down to three things:-
The activity must be active and have a clear set of goals and progress. Zoning out in a chair won’t work. It needs to be a task that has a well-defined direction and structure such as reaching a specific target or a particular standard.
There must be clear and immediate feedback. This enables constant adaptation of task performance to allow the person to remain actively engaged in the flow state.
There must be a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and a person’s perceived skills. It’s nigh on impossible to achieve flow if you are attempting a task that’s well beyond your capabilities. A “comfortable struggle” works best that requires you to mentally work but doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re intellectually drowning.
Perhaps, then, when addressing the eternal question of what on earth to buy someone for birthdays or Christmas, a gift that will allow the person to enter a flow-state could be one that they will cherish for a great many years (I still have the guitar). What kind of gifts would do this?
Musical instruments for one. Remember that it’s hard to achieve flow if attempting an almost impossible task so I’d probably steer away from a sitar. But most instruments are pretty accessible even at a basic level, and those that sound good on their own (guitar, piano, other strung instruments) offer a particularly good chance of inducing a flow state.
Art is another way to achieve flow. Artists are notorious for losing themselves in their craft – the concept of the Starving Artist didn’t come from nowhere. Painting, drawing, sculpting or photography all tick the boxes for the conditions we described above, and the tools to do this would make fantastic presents for anyone who needs a better way to relax in their life than slobbing on the sofa.
Mental games and challenges are another great method. Have you ever marvelled at the intensity of concentration displayed by two top-level chess players engaged in battle? You can bet your bottom dollar that they are a deep in flow-state as it’s possible to be. Maybe that’s why they always have a clock next to the board.
Next time you buy your partner something, gift them the gift of flow. For more ideas, check out the Recharge Gifts For Men section. I guarantee that they’ll be thankful forever.
Wikipedia defines a paradox as a statement that – despite apparently valid reasoning – leads to a self-contradictory conclusion. I believe that so-called novelty gifts are a great example of a paradox. Novelty, of course, means ‘new and unusual’ but tends to be synonymous with ‘nonsensical and useless’. Novelty gifts are paradoxical because they are nearly always so absolutely terrible that they in fact have no novelty value at all. They simply cause that awful feeling where the recipient has to force a smile while pushing aside the thoughts of “oh crikey, she thinks I’m so immature that I’d actually like this rubbish”. It’s not a good feeling. Almost without exception, novelty gifts are a waste of money and nobody – literally nobody – likes to receive them.
Take the current top 50 gifts for men on Amazon.com. I know that us blokes can be difficult to buy for but come on people, I value the human race more highly than this: fully 60% of them sit plum-square in the novelty segment of the market and I fail to see what anyone would do with any of them. Look at these examples. Remember: these are supposedly aimed at fully-grown men who walk upright and have functioning brains.
Take this PGA tour pitch-and-putt auto-returner for example. I suppose it may entertain for ten minutes or so, but how often does anyone really think it will be used after the first day? Nope. Time to stuff it into the back of the cupboard until it’s safe enough to sneak it into the recycling bin one day when you are out.
And have a look at this one. Words genuinely fail me for the “novelty latex rubber creepy cry baby mask”. Folks, this is in the top 50 man-gifts. What has happened to us all? Even in my most creative moment I would struggle to think of a single word that could even lay the foundation of a positive response to receiving this. What is anyone supposed to do with it? Are we ten?
And check out this “multiple skulls head decoration” as another case in point. It’s a lump of plastic....with fake skulls on it. Sure, it’s aggressive and weird and some blokes kind of like that. But even then, wouldn’t your man prefer something he could actually....use?
This final example though has to be the winner of the ‘most paradoxical novelty’ award: I present to you the “gigglebeaver toilet football game.”
“This makes a great novelty gift for men and teenagers!” is the claim. Well, I suppose it might for some. But let’s be absolutely honest here – even the person who invented it would surely openly concede that it’s total junk. I’m sure that everyone will be rushing to set this up before dealing with the aftershocks of last night’s prawn madras.
Look, I’ve got absolutely nothing against buying a gift with the sole objective of making someone laugh. I get it, I really do. But I just think that – especially when it comes to buying gifts for men – the novelty gift has become an easy “out” for avoiding having to make a proper gift-buying decision. Men – especially nice, decent, modern men with brains – like gifts that they like. Gifts that reflect their interests and values, that allow them to express themselves or immerse themselves in something. Gifts that show that you’ve actually put some thought into it.
So here is my plea - please think twice before buying novelty nonsense. Even if for no other reason, just think of the plastic waste. Let’s not clutter our oceans with cry baby masks. Stuck for ideas for proper gifts for real blokes? Check out our inspirational gift ideas page for all the inspiration you’ll need.
So, you need help?!?! You're stumped! You're looking for tips and ideas for those pesky, darn and elusive inspirational gifts for your men who seem to already have everything, right?!?!? How do you find these ultimate man gifts? Well, it really is not as hard as you think? You just need telling what you already know.
You have found us because you have absolutely no idea, again, of what to get the men in your life for a gift. You have seen the date in your calendar coming about and you know you now have to search the internet and shops for something truly awesome - an Ultimate Man Gift; however, you mind is completely blank. So what do you do? Well do not fret! Not yet anyway. We have some simple handy tips that will help you do some tactical recon work and locate something 'humongous', something 'Kajonga'... ...something that will make his eyes shout 'Skadooosh' when he opens that gift. Let's get into it. But just before we do, find a cosy chair to sit in, switch TVs and anything else that could distract you off, and lastly, and most importantly, crack open a vintage Chardonnay. Oh, and a notepad and pen!
1. Remember Past Gifts
Time for that thinking cap. What have you bought him before? Go back to as far as you can and write down everything you can remember because you do not want to buy him that gift that went straight to the back of his 'man' cupboard the next day. Remember, if you play your cards right, he will remember this for an eternity and put just as much effort into his gifts too... ...hopefully anyway! So brainstorming time, take a sip for your Chardonnay and let's see what you record has been like for the last few years at Christmas, Birthdays, Valentine's or Fathers Day.
The aim here is to see if you can upgrade a previous gift. You know he is a modern man, or wanting to be one anyway, therefore certain gifts are not going to be on his radar. He will smile pleasantly and say thank you when he receives it, but trust us - deep down he is in an immensity of pain and holding back those tears. So, if you bought him some slippers last year that say 'Happy Birthday Old Man' (shame on you!), why not purchase some sharp looking two-tone memory foam ones (affiliate link)(non-affiliate link) at Amazon.
Did you buy him a Thundercats pint glass only for it to be sat, mucky and unused in his drinks cabinet 4 years ago? Upgrade to a set of contemporary drinks glasses. Check these 400ml Set of Four Pint Glasses out. This remembering and upgrading strategy is a great way to finding an ultimate man gift for those modern men. Just remember to not upgrade from a Bart Simpson pizza cutter to a Homer Simpson one. It is just not worth the man sulk!!!
2. His Leisure Activities
What does he like doing? What are his interests? It is time, if you haven't already, to begin monitoring what he does before and after work? (Sounds a little creepy!!) Does he get up early to go running or swimming? Is it football night with his pals on Tuesday nights? Leisure activities are the best inspiration as they are the easiest to work out. However, this can wear itself out after a couple of years. My dad used to love playing snooker down the local hall so I decided for 5 years straight I would buy snooker accessories. So, not necessarily in this order, I bought a a snooker cue and case, a snooker cue cleaning set, a pool cue, a portable snooker table for his garage and, because I had run out of snooker ideas, a 6 months membership for his local snooker club. Pretty awful right?!?!? No imagination there at all. The portable table never got played on, he had no interest in cleaning his cues and he never ever played pool once!!! What a waste of money.
If he does absolutely no exercise or sports at all then this is the perfect to time to get him interested. Choose something that you think could ignite a love for a sport or hobby. Check out our inspirational gifts for men page as this may give you some ideas. So mark down his leisure activities and hobbies. If it reads 'PornHub' and only this then we have got problems... ...and possibly so does he!
3. Fix A Problem
Here, you have to have ears of a wolf and listen to everything he is saying. When he watches Will Smith running with his shirt off does he start stroking his beer belly and then begin to grimace and start whinging? Does he look in the mirror and repeat the words 'I need to workout?' Has he recently read an article online about the effects of juicing on the human body and is positively relaying this information to you? If so, then you have just stumbled on desires and aspirations of your man. Take advantage of this! Buy him a juicer! Purchase that workout bench!
I bet you hear a lot of moaning about how things around the house need fixing right? Why doesn't he fix it? Simply because his tools probably consist of a range of his dads non-matching screwdrivers, a broken drill he inherited from his Grandfather which is a trillion years old and a hammer head without the handle? He cannot fix the issue because his 'crappy' tool set won't let him and will embarrass him as he takes them out in front of you. Solution! Buy him a set of pristine tools. You will not believe what a tool belt with exquisite tools attached does to a guy's morale. He automatically thinks he is Bob the Builder and cannot wait to get stuck in and fix stuff!
4. Mates and Family
This is an easy one and you have probably already thought of it, however, we have to list it as it is a good way to get ideas. If you are struggling that much for inspiration then go to his close friends and family. They know him as well as you and may have a different idea for him. See if he has mentioned anything to them about new hobbies that you do not know about or specific events he was looking forward to going to. Simples!