Learning from Project Runway

It is not only about pretty dresses and stressed out designers on the sets of Project Runway. There is also a good bunch of factors which make it very similar to real life situations. Plus, it happens in a (let's call it) concentrated mode which makes it easier to draw conclusions. I don't know about you but I often find myself thinking about what happened, even after the episode finished.


I have been watching Season 6 first and totally loved what happened, how things evolved and the last episodes were pure delight. So of course I was on the edge of my seat when the first episode of Season 7 first aired. Now, let's break things down into categories and see what makes Project Runway a lovable TV show.
I must say, this post started like a "Why I love..." type of post but I realized when I started putting things down that it is much more than that. Many lessons can be learnt from watching this show, not just how to act under tons of pressure. This being said, let's break things down into chapters.

Competition
As I said earlier, the show helps to understand in depth the mechanism of real-life situations. The workroom is a relatively small space if you consider each participant has just enough space to keep things interesting. If someone mumbles, what he says can be heard easily by the ones around. Plus, hard words make the rounds and it is not nice. At all. Competition should reflect in the final products.
On PR, it partially amuses me to hear what the participants say about their colleagues on the outside the workroom footage. Sometimes they are a bit mean, sometimes totally objective on each other's work status.

Hard work
When it comes to managing deadlines you must work hard. It is somehow implied. But the catch is that you must deliver a clever if not beautiful design. So, you see, instead of finishing fast and making a mediocre outfit, the participants must work fast at their best level. Ending in bottom third is not an option. Maybe the idea would be rising to your own standards, in a continuous competition with yourself, not with others.
On PR, some give up, some let themselves panic at the thought that they won't finish on time. It is useless to spend time on panicking instead of working.




Always push your limits
Challenges are the best occasions to put one's character to test. Under pressure, real selves are unveiled. Sometimes there might be surprises. It can be shocking in which ways people react to stress. They might attack others (which is so bad for own karma) or do the opposite thing: work even harder. Always working to improve efficiency, skills, experience.
On PR, the risk of transforming a good idea into a catastrophe is huge, because of the short time frame and other constraints. But if it proves to develop into an amazing, out-of-the-box creation, the designer is in to take the cake!

Time management
Ah, snap. A task is even harder to complete if you know you have a time limit. If that limit is not so far away, stress might interfere. So it's best to keep your head on the shoulders and do your best. At least you won't be able to regret doing so. The best way to master this skill is to practice, practice, practice. I should know, I do it all the time in all sorts of different domains. Sometimes I get things done in time, sometimes not. But the "not-finished-in-time" rates go down fast.
On PR, time is everything. Also, last minute challenges thrown in are quite frequent. Just to keep things interesting. This show really puts time management to use. 

Task control
Tracking down which things to do first is a challenge. In theory, the hardest tasks should be put first on the list. That way, they will surely be completed even if it takes longer then with easier ones. Plus, self-encouragement&respect levels go sky-high.
On PR, I like to observe how contestants deal with cutting&sewing versus embellishing pieces, action which can take even longer that putting them together in the first place. Most of the time, they regret starting it when they see it proves to be so difficult, but the satisfaction is huge when they finish the work. 

A lot of things can be observed on PR, other than great designs. A life show per se.
What are your thoughts? Any Project Runway fans out there? Shout it out.
photos from here
Pastel skies and lovely thoughts,
Daiane

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