If you’ve seen the Devil Wears Prada, you’re probably familiar with this scene.
Andy, walking by that fountain and tossing her phone in it, silencing it from Miranda’s calls once and for all.
She had reached a position thousands of girls dream of. In the fashion industry, if you’re looking for a promising place to learn and grow, nothing would be more appealing than being by the side of one the industry’s most influential figures. The fictional character Miranda Priestly, resembles in status the likes of Coco Chanel or Valentino.
So, for Andy to just decide to leave everything behind after reaching such a privileged position, is more than just a statement. It’s also important to add that she worked hard to reach that position, some fortunate events came her way but she also made sacrifices and worked hard to appease Miranda’s impossibly high standards.
So why did she do it? The movie alludes to her reasons obviously but it’s important to take another look and understand the story more.
She started out looking for jobs relating to her studies, journalism. She was pursuing this path extensively but due to a lack of job openings, applied for a job as a secretary in a fashion magazine.
Out of this unlikely and less than ideal situation, arose the opportunity to excel at this job. Andy took it upon herself to work hard and find her place where normally she wouldn’t be accepted or approved of.
Nonetheless, after reaching Paris, the ultimate destination for fashion events in the film, she turns away from the industry.
Andy wanted to be a journalist more than anything. She pursued it and failed to reach any useful platform for a long time. And when faced with the possibility of failure again, she refused to simply accept that reality.
She worked hard not because she had a passion for that specific career, but rather that she refused to accept failure.
In a moment where she was once again confronted with the threat of coming short of success, she applied herself and decided against it. This was obviously beneficial and later on allowed her to go back to her chosen career. However, it couldn’t last.
Upon realizing that she had committed an act that she perceives as opposing to her principles when she benefited from an unfortunate circumstance that befell her colleague, she put a stop to it all.
She did not see it coming. It was only pointed out to her that she had done this. Even her colleague wasn’t too begrudged by the incident as it was normal in such a competitive environment to seize whatever opportunities one finds. And yet, when she became aware, she could not bear the fact that she done something that she wouldn’t be proud of.
It was the first time she had awoken to the reality of her work attitude. She had sacrificed her passion for the sake of success, and consequently her morals and principles became threatened. In a state where she isn’t focused on the mission of her work, and rather her success in it, she was blind to her actions and their consequences.
So, when she was alerted to the state she’d reached, she immediately changed course.
Ultimately, she did not want that kind of success because it no longer meant success in her eyes. She was so bereft of the feeling of achieving something worthwhile, and that led to her wanting something she didn’t even respect before simply to fill that void in her.
The problem is that it’s a slippery slope. When your mission isn’t clear and centered on something you wholeheartedly believe in, you try to adapt yourself to the newfound reality and thus become subject to changes in your identity as well.
Success isn’t what others deem it worthy, it’s what you choose it to be.
Find your mission and vision in life, set your goals accordingly to achieve them. That is how you measure your success. Don’t let someone else’s story be yours.
Be your own person.
Be your own success story.