Now in its tenth season, Project Runway still remains one of my favorite reality shows. I love getting to know the designers each year, rooting for my favorites, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a really cute dress made out of birdseed? But there’s more to it than fashion and drama. There are some real life lessons tucked into each episode. Don’t believe me? Try these on for size:

1. Be yourself. Christian Siriano was fierce, Mondo Guerra shared a devastating secret, and Santino did a spot-on Tim Gunn impression. Whoever you are, own you! Those who truly love you will accept your quirks and flaws. Those who don’t, don’t matter.

2. Don’t settle for conventional materials. Corporate-speak will tell you “think outside the box.” But even that phrase is now in the box. Flex your imagination. Over the years, the designers have used candy wrappers, flowers, and dog leashes to create amazing outfits. Whatever you do in life, try moving away from standards if you want to stand out.

3. Those who fear your talent will attempt to tear you down. Every season sees the cat fights between two or more contestants. Sometimes, in life, the more popular you are, the more unpopular you become with those threatened by your success, your uniqueness, your talent. The only way they can feel better about their own miserable selves is to drag you into the mud. Don’t fall for it. Your true allies will stand by you.

4. Just because you’re down doesn’t mean you’re out. So you got thrown out of the club. Big deal. Don’t quit. Prove them wrong. Be bigger, better, stronger. You have it in you. Only you can make yourself fail.

5. Make it work. Oh, Tim, how I adore you! These three words can sum up the solution to all life’s problems. Sometimes, you get the crappy end of the stick. Everyone does. Winners make it work. Losers sulk and whine about how they “can’t” do it.

Got a life lesson from Project Runway? Share!

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