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10 Successful Famous Introverts In History

We live in a very extroverted world. Society praises those who are outgoing and energetic, while often overlooking the quiet and introspective. It’s easy to feel like you’re not good enough if you don’t fit the mold of what is seen as “normal.”

It may feel like you need to be extroverted to be successful, but that’s not always the case. There are many famous introverts who have achieved great things. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world are introverts! 

First, let’s clear up what an introvert is:

An introvert is a person who prefers to spend time alone or in small groups, rather than in large crowds. They are often seen as quiet or shy, but this is not always the case. Some introverts may enjoy socializing, but prefer doing so in smaller groups or one-on-one. Others may avoid social situations altogether.

There is no single definition of what it means to be an introvert, as everyone experiences introversion differently. However, there are some common characteristics that are often associated with introverts. These include being more internalized, reflective, and comfortable spending time alone. Introverts may also be more sensitive to stimulation from their environment and can become easily overwhelmed in large crowds or loud environments.

While introverts make up a smaller portion of the population, they are often highly successful in fields that require independent thinking and creative problem-solving. Here are a few of the most successful and famous introverts in history:

10 successful famous introverts and their wisdom on success

1. Abraham Lincoln

Photo of Abraham Lincoln
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Abraham Lincoln was United States president recognized worldwide for his tragic ending and his work toward the abolition of slavery.

Many historians believe that Abraham Lincoln was introverted. He was known for being a quiet and thoughtful man, and he often preferred to spend time alone reading or thinking. Lincoln also didn’t seem to enjoy the social aspects of his job as President, preferring to work in his office or reading by candlelight. Despite his introversion, he was capable of being very persuasive and effective when he needed to be.

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”

Abraham Lincoln

His lesson: Let your work speak for itself. 

Because of his introverted personality, Lincoln is often seen as an enigmatic figure. He was a complex man who was difficult to understand, but he was also one of the most important and influential presidents in American history.

2. Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein is considered one of the smartest people to have ever lived. He developed the theory of relativity and won the Nobel Prize in 1921. After moving to the United States, he became a citizen and continued working on his theories.

Many experts believe that Albert Einstein may have been introverted. This theory is based on his early life experiences and his later work habits. For example, Einstein often withdrew from social situations and preferred to work alone. Additionally, he was known for his intense concentration and focus when working on problems. These traits are often associated with introverts.

Einstein’s work has had a profound impact on the world of science. His theories have helped scientists to understand the universe in new ways. Additionally, his work has led to advances in technology and medicine. Einstein’s discoveries have made him one of the most famous scientists in history.

Albert Einstein fostered creative thinking in others and helped to advance the field of science. He was a brilliant thinker and an accomplished scientist.

His lesson: Setting and striving for goals leads to happiness. 

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

Albert Einstein.

 Einstein had wise words in not attributing happiness to people or things. When we do this, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. If our happiness is tied to a goal, we have something to work towards and something to be happy about when we achieve it. This is a lesson that Einstein learned and shared with the world.

3. Barack Obama

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Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1961, Obama grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Honolulu.

After a close race, Obama was elected president in November 2008. He took office in January 2009, and was re-elected in 2012. During his time in office, Obama worked to improve the economy and expand healthcare access for all Americans. He also championed measures to address climate change and promote LGBT rights.

While it may be difficult to believe, Obama has spoken about his introverted personality in the past. For example, he has said that he tends to “withdraw into a very private world” when he is feeling stressed. Obama also often speaks about the importance of introspection and reflection, both of which are typically associated with introverts.

His lesson: Persistence is the key to success. 

“If you’re walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

Barack Obama.

So, while Obama may be an introvert, he has certainly shown that introverts can be successful in any field – even politics!

4. Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most influential women of her time. She was a strong advocate for social justice and equality, and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those around her. She was also an important political figure, serving as the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. Eleanor Roosevelt was a truly remarkable woman, and her legacy continues to inspire people all over the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s personality was undoubtedly complex. However, she was known for being a highly introspective person, and she often expressed her thoughts and feelings in writing. She even described herself as a “quiet, shy person.” Yet despite her introspective nature, Eleanor Roosevelt was an incredibly charismatic individual who had a unique ability to connect with others.

Her lesson: Push your boundaries often

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Roosevelt constantly pushed boundaries in order to help make change. Doing one thing a day that scares us is a quote attributed to her, and it’s clear that she embodied this sentiment in her life.

5. Emma Watson

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Born in Paris, France on April 15, 1990, Emma Watson is a British actress and model who rose to prominence after landing her first professional acting role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was only nine years old when she was cast in the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), and went on to appear in all eight subsequent Harry Potter films.

Watson has said in interviews that she is introverted by nature and that it took her some time to get used to being in the public eye. In a 2014 interview with Vogue UK, Watson spoke about how she copes with her fame: “I try not to think about it too much. I don’t go online. I don’t have any social media. I try to keep a really low profile.” She also said that she is selective about the roles she accepts in order to maintain some privacy: “I want to be an actress, and I want to be known for my work, but I also want to have a private life and not be followed around by paparazzi all the time.”

Her lesson: Allow your passion to guide you and fuel you. 

“If you truly pour your heat into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen.”

Emma Watson.

Even though she seems very outspoken, Emma Watson is an introvert and can often be found recharging by reading a good book, meditating, and taking a long relaxing bath. In addition, she is a major proponent of self-care. 

6. Keanu Reeves

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Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor and producer. He gained fame for his starring role in the ‘Matrix’ film franchise, and has since starred in several successful films, including ‘Speed,’ ‘Point Break,’ and ‘John Wick.’ Reeves is also well-known for his philanthropy, and has been involved in several charitable organizations.

Keanu Reeves has spoken about being shy as a child, and has said that he prefers to spend time alone or with close friends rather than in large groups. Additionally, Reeves has said that he finds acting to be a way to express himself and connect with others.

Keanu Reeves is known to enjoy several different hobbies, including motorcycling, surfing, and playing guitar. He has also been involved in several charitable organizations.

His name is a Hawaiian name that his family gave him. His name is means “cool breeze over the mountain,” which seems very fitting for his calm and peaceful demeanor. 

His lesson: Life is short. Spend time doing things you enjoy. 

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean.”

Keanu Reeves.

While being successful can important, so is enjoying your life. It is so easy (especially for introverts) to get into a cycle of working hard and keeping our nose to the grindstone that we can forget to take the time to enjoy life. 

7. Meryl Streep

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Many know Meryl Streep as an accomplished actress, singer and film producer. What many may not know is that she is also a vocal advocate for women’s rights. She has spoken out about the gender pay gap in Hollywood and the need for more female directors. Streep has even said that she would not work with anyone who doesn’t believe in equal pay. In addition to her work as an actress, Streep is also a mother of four and has been married to Don Gummer since 1978.

Many have speculated that Streep may be an introvert based on her love of solitude and quiet. She has spoken about how she often takes breaks from socializing and finds great comfort in being alone. There is no doubt that Meryl Streep is a talented and powerful woman. Her work on and off the screen has inspired many and she is sure to continue to do so for years to come.

Her lesson: Truly being yourself means not worrying about what other people think of you. 

“The minute you start caring about what other people think is the minute you stop being yourself.”

Meryl Streep.

If we can put our blinders on and do the things that make us truly happy without worrying about what the world around us thinks, we can surely be ourselves. 

8. Micheal Jordan

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Michael Jordan is a former professional basketball player and entrepreneur. He is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He was a six-time NBA champion and five-time MVP.

Jordan has been described by many as being introverted. For example, he once said that he prefers “to be alone and in control.” He is also known for being fiercely competitive. In addition to his accomplishments on the court, Jordan is also well-known for his work with charities and as an entrepreneur. He is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise.

 His lesson: Fail Frequently but Never Quit.

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I have been trusted to take the game-wining shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan.

Failure is inevitable in life. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people don’t quit trying. Instead, they learn from their failures and move forward. 

9. Princess Diana

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Princess Diana was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana was born into a family of British nobility with royal ancestry as The Honourable Diana Spencer. She was greatly loved by the public and her death in a car crash in 1997 provoked a national outpouring of grief. Diana was educated at home. She excelled in music, art, and sports, and she showed an early interest in humanitarian work.

From what we know about Diana’s personality, it seems likely that she was at least somewhat introverted. For example, she was known for being shy and reserved in public, and she often sought out solitary activities like reading and painting. Additionally, Diana was deeply interested in the inner lives of others and was known for her compassionate nature. She was also said to be quite intuitive and perceptive. These are all hallmark traits of introverts.

Despite her introversion, Diana was able to connect with others in a profound way. She had a gift for listening attentively and she was able to create strong emotional connections with the people she met. This ability to forge meaningful relationships is something that introverts often excel at. In the end, Diana’s introverted nature blended well with her compassionate personality, and she was able to use her introversion to make a positive impact on the world.

Her lesson: Caring for people is the greatest gift you can give. 

“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.”

Princess Diana.

Princess Diana was known for her caring and gentle ways. She leads many humanitarian efforts using her status and platform to bring awareness to people who were suffering. In her caring for the world around her, she earned the acknowledgment as “The People’s Princess.” 

Often, introverts and highly sensitive people have the advantage of relating to people in their situations and making them feel genuinely cared about and loved. 

10. Rosa Parks

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Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913. She was a seamstress and a civil rights activist who is best known for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. This act of defiance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the first successful protests against racial segregation in the United States. Parks was also involved in other civil rights campaigns, including the Selma-to-Montgomery marches and the Poor People’s Campaign. She received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92.

Many experts have speculated that Parks may have been introverted based on her personal history and behavior. For example, Parks was known for being shy and reserved as a child, and she continued to be relatively quiet and private throughout her life. Additionally, Parks tended to prefer solitary activities, such as reading or sewing, over social gatherings. This tendency toward isolation may have contributed to her strength as a civil rights leader, as she was more focused on her goals than on seeking approval from others. Despite her introversion, Parks was clearly a brave and passionate woman who was willing to stand up for what she believed in, even in the face of enormous opposition.

Her lesson: Stand up for what you believe in without wavering. 

“Stand for something, or you will fall for anything. Today`s mighty oak is yesterdays nut that held its ground.”

Rosa Parks.

Even when it is difficult, take a chapter from Rosa Parks’ books and stand up for what you believe in. Whether that is an issue at work, at home, or in your community, stand your ground for what you believe in.  

As you can see from this list, there are many successful introverted people in history. They have overcome the challenges of being introverted and achieved great things. With hard work and determination, anyone can be successful, regardless of their personality type. We should celebrate the successes of introverted people and learn from their examples.