The day after an unexpected opportunity to catch Madonna live in Detroit on her 40 Years Celebration Tour, of everything she said what stands out to me most is this: there’s no substitute for hard work.
When someone calls to say they’ve got an extra ticket to see Madonna live in her hometown of Detroit as part of her 40 Years Celebration Tour, what do you say?
Yes, of course.
And so it was I found myself among the 12,000 others packed into Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit last Monday night, all there to see the Queen of Pop live and in the flesh.
And was she spectacular? Of course she was. Backed by a stellar crew of about 30 young professional dancers, Madonna sang all the hits we wanted to hear and then some.
But interestingly, days after the show, what stood out most in my mind was not the world-class dancing, stunning cinematography, mesmerizing light show, or even Madonna’s array of glitzy costumes (and oh yes, she donned the cone bra for one song).
Rather, it was what she said about the personal significance of performing back in her hometown of Detroit and particularly having her 92-year-old father present at the show. It was her dad, she said, who taught her the work ethic that led to her success.
“He taught me to never quit, to work hard. He gave me the tools to learn how to survive. He taught me the importance of earning your way through life. If you think I’m tough and if you think I’m a warrior and if you think I’m a beast or a superhero, it’s because of my father.”
When we witness someone as other-worldly as Madonna, it can sometimes feel as though they were “destined” to be a star or as though they’ve somehow innately always had “what it takes” to become as huge as they are now.
Well, today I’m here to tell you, that’s a load of BS. There is simply NO substitute for hard work. This fierce woman who I got to watch sing and dance at the age of 65 in front of an audience of 12,000 screaming fans worked damn hard to get to where she is (and by the way, you better believe she still has those biceps).
So the next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone who is perhaps where you want to be and it feels like it was easy for them, just remember: it’s all an illusion.
What’s the substitute for hard work? There is none.