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Do you ever feel like something is wrong with you just because you don’t like joining groups or attending social gatherings?
Or have you ever felt so shy in the midst of a crowd that you just wanted to disappear?
First things first: There is nothing wrong with you. You are probably an introvert, and that is perfectly normal. It just so happens that parties and crowds do not suit your interests. You are a fan of solitude and peace.
Most introverts feel that their behavior is out of the norm. They might even think that it can get in the way of their success.
But that is a misconception. A simple Google search will tell you that there are many outrageously successful people who are natural introverts. In fact, in many cases, being an introvert is actually what made their lives prosperous.
In this post, we give you a list of famous introverts and their major accomplishments. We also explain how they were able to change the world through their decision to live and work alone.
1. Albert Einstein
Everybody knows who Albert Einstein is—a world-renowned physicist famous for his theory of relativity, which is one of the two pillars that support modern physics (the second being quantum mechanics). He won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect.
Many people also know that Einstein was an introvert. He has a famous quote that says, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulate the creative mind.” Instead of shying away from his introverted tendencies, he embraced them and made them a key to his success.
2. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is one of the world’s wealthiest people. He consistently topped the ranks of Forbes wealthiest people from 1995 to 2017, and reclaimed his title from Jeff Bezos in 2019. Gates is the founder of the Microsoft empire, which pioneered the evolution of microcomputers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Gates took full advantage of the fact that he is an introvert. The business magnate is now worth billions of dollars, and agrees that certain people should learn to make the best out of their introversion so they can be successful in life.
3. J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling came up with the idea for her title character during a solo trip from Manchester to London, and Harry Potter is now one of the most remarkable and well-loved fantasy series of all time.
During that trip, Rowling did not have a pen to jot down her thoughts. But she was also too shy to borrow one, so she opted to compose the story in her head. Every time she looks back on that fateful day, she remembers how being an introvert can actually help one becoming more successful in life.
4. Warren Buffett
Similar to Bill Gates, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company.
Although a respected leader and famous investor, Buffett originally had a hard time connecting with people. In fact, he had to take Dale Carnegie’s seminars on “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” When asked what the key to his success is, he always refers to his solitary habits, which made him an investment expert.
5. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt is the longest-serving first lady of the United States. She was the loving wife of Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 to 1945. But she was more than that—Eleanor Roosevelt was a political figure, diplomat, and activist.
It might be shocking to know that she was also an introvert, since she gave almost 350 press conferences and an average of 150 speaking engagements each year during her term as the first lady. Eleanor Roosevelt believed that a person should know and actually be friends with herself so she can be a better friend with others.
6. Meryl Streep
Regarded as the one of the best actresses of her generation, Meryl Streep has won three Academy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards.
It is unusual for actors and actresses to be introverts, but Meryl Streep is indeed one. For her, the introverted qualities she possesses are what keep her strong and steady.
7. Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks had a long-lasting impact on millions of people all around the globe when she refused to give up her seat for a white man in 1955, during the segregation era. The United States Congress named her the “first lady of civil rights” and the “mother of the freedom movement.”
In the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, she wrote, “They said she was ‘timid and shy’ but had ‘the courage of a lion.’” Parks was an icon of resistance against racial discrimination.
8. Steven Spielberg
One of the most popular directors in film history, Steven Spielberg is one of the pioneers of the New Hollywood era. His most popular works include Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan.
Spielberg is a quiet leader, spending most of his time working behind the camera. In spite of all the success that his films have had, he is not a fan of parties and social gatherings. Most of the time, he gets tongue-tied when talking to strangers.
9. Abraham Lincoln
United States historians often say that Abraham Lincoln’s success as the 16th US president came from his dignity, integrity, quietness, and introversion. Lincoln spent most of his time reading and writing prose and verses.
Lincoln led America during the Civil War, one of the most challenging and formative eras in the history of the US.
10. Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi is widely regarded for his nonviolent resistance against British rule in India. He inspired civil rights and freedom movements all over the globe.
Gandhi led the movement for India’s independence through his introverted civil disobedience. As he once said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
11. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur, investor, and engineer. He is the CEO and chief designer of SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation service provider. Aside from that, he is also a co-founder of Tesla, Inc., Neuralink, OpenAI, and PayPal.
Musk refers to himself as an “introverted engineer.” It took him a lot of time and courage to actually become comfortable connecting with and speaking in front of many people. But based on his ongoing success, Elon Musk has recently been called the next Steve Jobs.
12. Audrey Hepburn
Ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend during the Golden Age of Hollywood, Audrey Hepburn was more than just the films she did and the clothes she wore. She was a humanitarian—a goodwill ambassador of UNICEF.
Hepburn was known to be introverted and highly sensitive, but she was also highly professional. Because she is well aware of her introversion, she made sure to not let it get in the way of her work.
13. Mark Zuckerberg
Everyone from this generation knows who Mark Zuckerberg is. How can you not, considering he is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook?
According to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, Zuckerberg is an introvert. He does not seem to be very warm to people, especially to those who do not know him. But he actually is, and cares a lot about the people who work for him—a perfect example of a quiet and introverted leader.
14. Michael Jordan
An exceptional star on the basketball court, but an introvert in the outside world, Michael Jordan’s subdued personality may be a surprise to you.
Jordan is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, and became a vital instrument in popularizing the NBA around the world. He was also the face of Nike, one of the world’s largest sportswear companies, for decades. Most impressively, he was able to accomplish all of this despite being introverted.
15. Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Inc., along with Steve Jobs. Apple eventually became the world’s largest information technology company in 2017, and remains so today. It also pioneered the personal computer revolution during the 1970s and 1980s.
If Steve Jobs was an extrovert, Wozniak is the opposite—he loves working alone. Their partnership was extremely compatible because their different personalities complemented each other. Wozniak believes that embracing introversion is the key to being a great leader.
16. Christina Aguilera
American pop star and television personality Christina Aguilera is considered to be one of the greatest singers of our generation. She was included on Rolling Stone’s 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Aguilera seems to be the perfect definition of an extrovert on stage, but in real life, she identifies herself as “intense and introverted.” A closer look at her music reveals this, as the powerful lyrics of her many songs are drawn from her introverted tendencies.
17. Emma Watson
Actress Emma Watson’s most popular role was probably Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. Some of her other famous films include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast, and My Week with Marilyn. But more than simply an actress, Watson is also an activist, particularly of the women’s rights movement.
Watson identifies herself as a natural introvert. She does not like going to parties and clubs, and she long felt like there was something wrong with her. But upon reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain, she realized how being an introvert can actually make a difference in the world.
18. Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton was a lot of things—mathematician, physicist, theologian, and astronomer, among others. But he was also an introvert who liked spending most of his time alone. He valued privacy a lot, even once he had become famous for his work in science and mathematics.
19. Larry Page
Computer and Internet genius Lawrence Page is the co-founder of Google, alongside Sergey Brin. He is also the CEO of Alphabet, Inc., which is Google’s parent company. Currently, he is listed as the 9th richest person in the world by Forbes.
According to reports, many people think that Page was an odd choice for Alphabet’s CEO because he is naturally reserved and introverted. Nevertheless, it is likely that his deep thinking as an introvert is what makes him such a successful business leader.
20. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution. He proposed that all species of life are the result of natural selection, and is considered one of the most influential figures in science and human history.
According to reports, Darwin exhibited a combination of extroverted and introverted habits. But most historians would agree that he was more of an introvert, as he thoroughly enjoyed solitude and preferred working alone most of the time.
21. Dr. Seuss
Theodore Seuss Geisel is the author of several well-loved children’s books, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Green Eggs and Ham. Many of his books have been adapted for Broadway, television, and film.
Surprisingly, Susan Cain described Dr. Seuss as someone who “was afraid of meeting the kids for fear that they would be disappointed at how quiet he was.”
22. Frederic Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a leading musician during the Romantic era. He was a child prodigy who, according to researchers, had a talent that was “without equal in his generation.”
Despite his talent and fame, during his lifetime, Chopin only gave 30 public performances. He was not a crowd-performer, but rather preferred playing for small groups of friends.
23. Barack Obama
Obama made history when he became the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. Although presidents are expected to be extroverts, a lot of critics agree that Obama is actually introverted.
He possesses a lot of introverted qualities, like being highly self-reflective and a deep thinker. Most importantly, he admitted in an interview with The New York Times that he is most productive when he is alone and surrounded by peace and quiet.
24. Laura Bush
Laura Bush served as the first lady of the United States during her husband’s term from 2001 till 2009. But more than just a president’s wife, Bush was an American educator who advanced children’s rights to education on a worldwide level.
In one of her speeches, Bush pointed out the main difference between her and her husband: George Bush was an extrovert, while she was an introvert. This difference is what made their relationship a great success.
25. Roy Rogers
One of the most popular stars of his time, the “King of Cowboys” Roy Rogers was also an identified introvert. Although he was a film and television star and loved show business, he said he had a hard time dealing with people around him. This was because he simply did not enjoy being surrounded by a lot of people.
26. Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, consistently topping the Billboards for decades whenever he would release new material. Truly an influential artist, John was also an advocate for the rights of the LGBT community.
Elton John is regarded to be a showy and extravagant performer, yet his friends (including Rufus Wainwright) insist that he is an introvert. He is often regarded as the “shy guy” by those who are close to him.
27. Lady Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, more popularly known as Lady Gaga, is famous for her unconventional and provocative image. But who knew that she was actually an introvert?
Lady Gaga admits that she is shy and introverted, and feels like she does not fit in. Even in press conferences, she seems to be the total opposite of her on-stage persona. Despite this shyness, she is admired for her contributions in philanthropy, LGBT advocacy, and youth empowerment.
Final Words on Famous Introverts
As you can see, being an introvert does not mean you can’t be successful. In fact, many of the world’s most successful people appreciated quiet time by themselves.
If you ever start to doubt that you are on the right path to success, take a moment to embrace your introversion and turn it into a tool that can lead you to triumph and victory. We hope that this list of successful introverts has given you a confidence and inspiration. No matter who you are—introvert or extrovert—you are bound to be successful and happy.
Finally, one proven way to improve your happiness and life satisfaction is to focus on goals that truly matter. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.