11 Lessons You Can Learn From Reality TV (Really!)

The fall season is upon us, which means the summer of bad reality television over. It makes me wonder why we love that guilty genre so much, watching seemingly ordinary events start to unfold and attachments start to develop. We might be glued to our screens to escape real life but here’s how reality television reminds me about the realities of life.

People inherently love drama. We like watching other people air dirty laundry, and the contestants or the stars fan the flames. After all, the best Real Housewives are the ones that have the cat fights and broken friendships. It’s easy to get sucked in.

Humans love being in the know. Isn’t that why we can’t get enough of confessional cameras letting us feel like we’re in the room, in the loop? I know who your secret crush that you hooked up with through night-vision on “The Real World,” I see your behind-the-scenes vote on Big Brother is just like I saw you on surveillance camera or I peeked at your notes so I know what you’re up to.

Everything is out there on display. Look at the Kardashians. We’re all recording ourselves these days — through Facebook, GoPro, and everything in between. Anything we say is remembered and pictured. But it’s hard to keep up and feed the beast. We’re warped in our own social bubble. You wonder if you should just lay it all out there, or pay the price for privacy — or lack thereof — like Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney.

Be your authentic self. There’s no point in trying please the judges in your life at the cost of your unique voice. Sure you want to impress but when you think of Project Runway — the ones who bring their twist to a challenge get the most points, at least props from the likes of Nina Garcia. Know your brand. If you get eliminated, the look of regret (vs. respect) is written all over their faces at the goodbye end of the episodes.

Life is not really unscripted. The creators behind the show look for interesting backgrounds, emotional moments and developing story-lines. Many moments are not spontaneous. We definitely think of what we’d like to say in our heads and how that’s going to change the dialogue in the room before we actually hold that conversation.

You need to have some strategy in life. Bringing your A game is sometimes about having a plan before you get there and then improvising. It’s knowing your weaknesses and strengths like The Apprentice, then forming alliances if need be a la Big Brother and Bad Girls’ Club.

Boring doesn’t win. You have to get creative and take a risk. Put your own musical spin as if you’re singing in front of Pharrell on The Voice. Give it your all at whatever task. Show effort and originality. Even the masters on Top Chef need to come up with something new. Practice coming up with ideas under quick fire pressure with deadline.

Bodies can do amazing things. So You Think You Can Dance contortions, voices on American Idol,” even on America’s Next Top Model you see how the face can be a moving, musical, evolving form of art. Training is important and talent is multi-faceted.

It’s really hard to lose weight. When you don’t have a trainer or a strict regiment and aren’t constantly surrounded by like-goal minded people, it’s easy to backtrack. When shedding pounds and being a reality is a daily, round-the-clock, cameras-everywhere job, it’s easier to become The Biggest Loser.

It’s about character, literally. I met a former contestant on a cooking show who is now helping with casting and he said I should try out even though I don’t cook. People who weren’t professionally trained but had a big personality went further in the show because producers wanted to keep them around to see what would happen. They were picked to be in the room for flavor. Add some saltiness or alcohol and fireworks may go off!

Life really is a competition. Some people play admirably for charity but there aren’t that many winners. If finding so-called true love is like a The Bachelorette job, there’s only one rose and Neil Lane diamond ring in the end. There’s no use in coming in second, because that million dollar prize isn’t split up. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Keep up with Ko on Twitter

More From Thought Catalog