7 Life Lessons We Learnt from Project Runway ...

I got thinking about something interesting this week: The life lessons from Project Runway. As season 11 drew to a close, I was considering Tim Gunn’s amazing advice for the fashion industry, and it hit me that it applies to everyday life just as well. Some of Tim’s gems are the perfect examples of things we should be teaching our kids, and if everyone knew them, the world would be a bit of a better place. Here’s my favorite life lessons from Project Runway: what do you think?

1. The World Owes You Nothing…

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We’ve heard Tim say this a lot, and in every case, it’s been well-meaning, if tough, advice. It’d be a rare person that had never felt entitled to some help or advice, but experts are already claiming that this entitled attitude is spreading like wild fire, and it can be tough to explain to teenagers. Showing your kids that they have to earn their way in the world can be tough, but it’s more than worthwhile. It’s probably one of the most urgent life lessons from Project Runway.

2. Take the High Road…

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The high road here refers to higher moral ground, and it’s a phrase usually used during tough times and crises. People who take the high road are usually honest, fair and selfless, without being defenseless. It’s a good lesson to learn: even when things get tough, stick to the right path. Keep your morals and your manners about you, and you’ll do just fine.

3. Make It Work…

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This has turned into Tim’s catchphrase during the program, and it’s easy to see why. He’s often reminding his designers that they need to solve their problems before the time runs out, rather than worrying or complaining, and it’s a great lesson for everyday life, too. Sometimes, you just have to make something work as well as you can in the circumstances, and without relying on others. It leads to excellent problem solving skills!

4. Don’t Abuse Your Power – or Surrender It…

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This expression has equal value whether you are a big boss or a big sister. Power is relative, but it should always be treated with care. Be realistic about the demands and expectations you have on other people, and teach your children to be realistic too. Be aware of factors that might affect performance, such as poor working conditions or feeling unwell, and take those into consideration. But don’t give away all your power, either; if your expectations aren’t met, enforce logical punishments.

5. Get Inspired if It Kills You…

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Okay, this one might be a bit strong to teach your children, but it’s a definite lesson they should learn! Inspiration is everywhere. It’s in movies, museums, songs, books, outside… You should always be able to find something that inspires you and sparks your imagination. Make sure your children spend a bit of time each week developing and testing their imagination, and try to keep this going as they grow up. There will always be other people who are inspired and energetic, and if you can keep these skills and take them into the workplace, you are sure to be ahead.

6. Use Technology, but Don’t Let It Use You…

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If you’ve been watching the show you’ll know all about Tim’s technology rules, which include being allowed to promote staff via email but not fire them, and being able to ask someone out by email but not break up with them. The theme is clear: technology should be utilized when it can be to be more efficient, and to motivate employees, but it shouldn’t be used to replace interactions that require a personal touch. Technology won’t help you to replace the relationships built face-to-face, which are more meaningful and trustworthy. Kick your kids off the computer every now and again, and put value on face-to-face meetings, play dates and chats.

7. Physical Comfort is Overrated…

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This is one of the life lessons from Project Runway that I’ve really taken on board. While employees love dress-down days and casual offices, Tim believes that it blurs the line between work and home. Working requires a professional touch, and casual clothes can water that down. Remember that the way you dress sends an important message to other people, and dress how you want to be treated. Teach your children to do the same. If you want to set a good impression, do it right.

Tim’s fashion experience has left him absolutely packed with advice, and he’s even written a book based on his life lessons from Project Runway. It’s a great read if you want to learn more about the man and the reasons behind his principles. Otherwise, spend some time formulating how to teach your children each of these rules, or even use them yourself. You’ll be amazed how quickly they become mantras! Have you learnt a great life lesson from TV? Let me know!

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