1. Commit yourself wholly to a project. Yes, she's a control freak. But every good artist is to a certain extent, no? And she does take advice from people she trusts--look at what came of working with Jellybean Benitez.
2. When in doubt, reinvent.
All in the span of a few years.
3. Don't be afraid to take risks. Remember Madonna rolling around MTV's stage in a wedding gown singing Like a Virgin? Wearing a mega crucifix and making goo-goo eyes at Jesus in Like a Prayer? OMG, remember her SEX book? People stood in line for hours to buy some photos of Madonna hitchhiking in the buff.
4. Help out your fellow artists/Mentor the young. Too bad Brittany didn't have Madonna's force of will and business acumen.
5. Believe in yourself. The girl has not always been on top of her game. The acting. Her shaking hands at the 1990 Oscars. "American Life" sucked. But she takes lowered expectations as a challenge and always finds a way to surprise us.
So Happy Belated Birthday, M! We can't wait to see what you do next.