“Reality” shows have come a long way since the beginning of MTV’s “The Real World.”  Nowadays, there are reality shows way beyond the task of just living with strangers.  Competition reality shows, like Top Chef and American Idol, have a system for individuals to compete against each other for a chance at their dreams.  Whether an individual dreams of becoming a singer, dancer, or top culinary master, it’s called a competition for a reason.  If you’re thinking about entering a competition reality show at any point in your life, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind along the way:

Most contestants are only looking out for themselves, so don’t expect to keep a “friendship” after the show ends or another competitor gets voted off.   There’s a name for these types of friendships: allies.  Think of competition reality shows like The Hunger Games.  Contestants are chosen to compete against each other until one lone person comes out winning.  And, like in The Hunger Games, the strongest people (the Careers) stuck together to weed out the weakest contestants.  They became allies, momentary friends until the time came to really compete.  Competition reality shows are no different.  Contestants either do one of two things: alienate everyone on the show because that’s how they roll or become momentary “friends” with other contestants to obtain a sense of their strengths and weaknesses for future use.

If you don’t have an interesting life story, you probably won’t be given much airtime.   Think about it:  a lot of contestants on competition shows typically have had some sort of hardship or tragedy happen to them.  Is this all a sheer coincidence or a plagued attempt by television execs to obtain more viewers?  Being an ordinary plain-Jane with a dream doesn’t make for entertaining television, even if it’s the complete truth.  However, don’t let this stipulation keep you from pursuing your dreams; there’s a place for every person in any competition.  Don’t get discouraged.

While these are only two things to remember about reality shows, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things to be aware of.  Being you can go a long way.  If you somehow find yourself on a competition reality show, by all means, be competitive.  But, if you’re not usually malicious and manipulative, then don’t be.  You’ll only be making more enemies than friends and you never know who you’ll need on your side at the end of the day.

Tell us what you would do if you were on a competition reality show!