Title: Lessons From Reality TV: A Peak Behind the Mask of Humanity

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Find out what reality shows such as Survivor, Amazing Race, and The Apprentice have to teach us about each other and the nature of the human psyche.

Psychology, Self Improvement, Reality TV, Self Improvement

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When Reality Shows first appeared on television they were a breath of fresh air from the same old formulaic programming that many of the networks had fallen into. Sitcoms had reaching the end of a creative cycle with the conclusion of Seinfeld, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond. Dramas were stagnating. The field was open for the new kid on the block.

Shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, The Bachelor and eventually The Apprentice grabbed viewers interest at an astonishing pace. The Reality Show format was so successful that not only were new ones coming out almost weekly but actors and producers of fictional shows were getting worried. As with all good things, excess spawned contempt and it wasn?t long before all reality shows were painted with the same brush.

Quality programs endured the backlash and are still going strong. They help to inform as well as entertain millions of viewers weekly. Reality Shows give us a rare glimpse into the human psyche. We see people with their guard down, openly confessing their motives, inner thoughts and feelings. More than simply catering to the voyeuristic tendencies in us all, they help enlighten us.

Survivor is the grand daddy of Reality Shows. Who will ever forget the first season when Richard Hatch played the game brilliantly and showed us how manipulation and deviousness does get rewarded? For the na?ve and good natured among us, the belief that people are basically honest must have been greatly shaken. What about alliances? Will people you trust always watch your back or will they place self- interest ahead of loyalty? Reality shows provide an important lesson in human nature that can pay dividends for a lifetime if taken to heart. Is Survivor just a game? Don?t believe it.

How about The Amazing Race? Here the lessons are a little different. The popularity of this award winning show has remained strong for 9 seasons. Although sometimes painfully formulaic, it gives us a broad glimpse of the world and the diversity of its people. Where else can you get a quick lesson in endurance and perseverance with so little effort? Guilty pleasure or not, The Amazing Race shows us the power of competition, the benefit of positive attitude and the grace and dignity that can be salvaged from defeat. Watching comfortably at home it may seem exciting, even easy but could your relationship withstand that level of stress? Do you see yourself in any of the racers?

You may be surprised at the number of people that take The Apprentice very seriously. Numerous blogs and websites are exclusively devoted to the business lessons gleaned from each episode. Anyone in business realizes that the situations presented aren?t always realistic. It is a television show after all with an unforgiving requirement to entertain above all else. However, business people also know that you can learn some valuable lessons from each show if you take a moment to think about it. The hope for success and the elusive search for the secret to great wealth keep people coming back week after week.

The list of benefits continues. Big Brother offers political intrigue and demonstrates the power and the folly of alliances. The American Inventor offers people a glimpse into product development and the hard work most people don?t see that goes into a great or not so great idea. Overnight success is rare.

Make no mistake. Producers and advertisers like reality shows because it gives them a new format for advertising, one where the commercials can?t easily be avoided. If you accept the fact that advertising is the price to pay for enjoying low cost entertainment, you may as well learn something about the nature of humanity in the process.

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