Have you ever seen Madonna perform live? It is an unforgettable experience – whether you like her music or not, you must admit that woman puts her heart and soul into everything that she does.
And she is rewarded very nicely for that, thank you very much… Forbes Magazine named her the top-earning celebrity of 2013, after she earned a cool, hard $125 MILLION (that was the estimate anyway).
So what goes on inside of Madonna’s brain that has made her so very successful for over 30 years?
Christopher Bergland (The Athlete’s Way) shares some great insights with us on Psychology Today, The Neuroscience of Madonna’s Enduring Success.
1. Not just in, but Beyond the flow. She is the queen of Superfluidity, a term that actually comes from physics and has to with defying the forces of gravity and surface tension. Bergland takes this concept and applies it to performance, as the next step beyond “being in the flow.” This application of the term is a stroke of genius, as it does seem that anyone who practices a sport, an art, a skill can get to a place where they can easily be in the flow of that skill – totally focused on that activity.
Getting in the flow is good, and essential in becoming really GOOD at that skill, but that isn’t the end of it. Going beyond the flow to superfluidity allows you to be in the space of achieving the unbelievable, going beyond expectations. Madonna may practice her art more than any other performer out there, and it pays off for her in incredibly exact performances.
If you are intrigued by this concept too, check out his article on “Superfluidity: The Psychology of Peak Performance.” I agree with Christopher – this concept can be applied to anything that you pursue, and is a great way to explain that next level.
2. Exercise. Madonna exercises faithfully, and usually takes her fitness trainer with her (used to be Tracy Anderson, and more recently (2012) it was Nicole Winhoffer – a former pro dancer). If you want to have a go at working out like she does, make sure you get the ok from your doctor first, then try the work out here. Of course cross-training is the best way to go and she does plenty of that too, including running, biking, yoga and barre3 (a combination of yoga, Pilates, and ballet moves for a GREAT workout).
3. Altruism. Studies have shown that people that help others are healthier and happier, tending to live longer than their less generous peers. Madonna has long been involved in charitable work, many of them relating to children, and was a co-founder of Raising Malawi, a non-profit that is trying to end extreme poverty and hardship to children in the southeast African Republic of Malawi.
4. Variability. You will hear more from us on this subject in the near future, but the study of Heart Rate Variability is an excellent reflection on how the more variance you have in your life (but not in a chaotic sort of way), the healthier you are. This holds true of your heart rate, and it also holds true for brain health. Learning new things, changing your routine, all of these activities help your brain to grow. No one probably does this any more than Madonna, who changes her style, her shows, her exercise routines constantly.
If you can incorporate these qualities into your life, you may not make as much money as Madonna, but you will certainly be happy and healthy – and that is a great start!