10 Successful Famous Introverts In History

Success seems to come to those who are outgoing and extroverted.

 Many people think that introverts are just shy, but the truth is that many victorious people throughout history have been introverted. 

In this blog post, I share a list of 10 famous introverts who were highly successful in their field, and we’ll learn some secrets about them. You will be surprised by how much you can relate to these popular folks! 

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

Introverts are people whose internal battery is drained by social situations. On the other hand, extroverts have their batteries drained by spending time alone and not being with friends and family. 

So the question comes down to how do you recharge? Do you seek the solitude of an evening at home painting, reading, or playing video games? Then you are an introvert!  

If you seek a girl’s night out, a book club, or spending quality time with your friends and family, then you are probably an extrovert. 

10 successful famous introverts and their wisdom on success

When I started to read about famous introverts, I was amazed. I never thought an introvert could be a popular sportsman or even president.

Photo of Abraham Lincoln
( image from commons.wikimedia.org)

1. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is a United States president recognized worldwide for his tragic ending and his work toward freeing enslaved people. It doesn’t seem like politicians would be on a list of introverts, but Abraham Lincoln was one of the introverted presidents.

Abraham Lincoln spent many nights reading books by candlelight in his early life, and even though he had two siblings, he spent many of his days educating himself. 

As an adult, Lincoln decided that he would have to go against his natural introverted tendencies to take up a fight for things he could no longer tolerate, like the spread of slavery. Because of his introverted personality, while other politicians fought and bickered, Lincoln seemed calm and collected as he waited his turn to speak. Because of his introversion, his words held more power than others who spoke more frequently.  

His lesson: Let your work speak for itself. 

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

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln knew that the person who is always telling you how great they are and how they should be recognized is not always the person who should be recognized.  

You do not have to fight for remembrance when people look over you because of your introversion. Instead, continue to work at a level that is worthy of praise. Your recognition is coming. 

Photo of Albert Einstein
( image from commons.wikimedia.org)

2. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein might be the most recognizable scientist ever. An introverted scientist may not be that much of a stretch of your imagination. Still, he captured the fascination of a nation and many generations, which is something special. 

Albert Einstein fostered his creative thinking by spending lots of time on his own and keeping to himself. 

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.

Happiness is something that everyone in the world is looking for. And as an introvert, sometimes our ideas of happiness can be criticized by the extroverted world.  

Einstein has some wise words in not placing our happiness in people and things, which is still a counter-culture idea. Instead, when we focus on self-improvement and achieving our goals, we find true and lasting happiness. 

Photo of Barack Obama
( image from commons.wikimedia.org)

3. Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States; he was also the first Black president. In addition, he was a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.  

He is a highly successful introvert. Barack Obama is most productive when he can spend time working by himself. While President, he would typically spend time with his family for dinner but then spend the rest of his evenings by himself reading and decompressing from the day’s events. 

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.

It is a lesson that anyone can take to heart, but it is incredibly hopeful to those of us who are introverts. Extroverts seem to get encouragement more often to follow their paths, but as introverts, we will succeed if we follow our path.  

Black and white photo of Eleanor Roosevelt
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

4. Eleanor Roosevelt

I find Eleanor Roosevelt one of the fascinating women in US history. She was a famous female introvert (even she described herself as painfully shy), but used her status as the President’s wife to further her work as a human rights activist. 

Although her life propelled her into the limelight more often than she would like, she treasured the moments of seclusion she could get to recharge. 

Her lesson: Push your Boundaries Often! 

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Eleanor Roosevelt.

It can be really easy to get stuck in our routines, and introverts are more likely to stick to a strict routine that may not serve them. But if we push ourselves to try uncomfortable things, we can find real growth as a person.  

In finding this growth, we can also find purpose and achieve our goals even faster. Think of it as leveling up in life. For example, anytime you do something difficult in a video game, you gain tons of experience points that push you to level up even quicker.  

Life works the same way. 

If you do the difficult things that challenge you, you will find growth even faster! 

Photo of Emma Watson
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

5. Emma Watson

After bursting out on the scene as the intelligent and feisty Hermonie Granger in the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson began advocating for women’s rights.  

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. 

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.

Passion is a fantastic thing that can keep us going even past where our motivation has left us stranded. When we can find a way to use our passion to guide us, we will succeed in whatever we choose to do.  

Photo of Keanu Reeves
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

6. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves might be the most soft-spoken action film star you will ever meet. It’s no surprise that Keanu is an introvert, often finding himself spending time working out. 

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. 

Unfortunately, great tragedies had surrounded the actor, from his father leaving the family when he was three years old to losing his best friend, River Phoenix.

In 1999, his daughter was stillborn on Christmas Eve. Then, just a few years later, the mother of his child died in a car accident. Although they were not still together, they were extremely close. 

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 be so important in life, so is enjoying your life. I think Keanu Reeves has such a stronghold on how fleeting life is due to his own life’s tragedies. 

 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. 

So do something today that you genuinely enjoy and allow yourself to be completely immersed in the experience. 

Photo of Meryl Streep
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

7. Meryl Streep

If you first met Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada, you may not see how she could be an introvert. But she is a famous introverted actor and regularly spends time reading books and flipping through family albums. 

She has won Oscars, Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild Award, and Canes Best Actress Awards and is one of the most admired actresses in Hollywood.  

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.

It can be challenging not to worry about what other people think of us. This is because we can put a lot of weight on what the world perceives we are. 

But from my experience, I agree with Meryl Streep’s advice. When you can stop worrying about what people think of you, you can indeed be yourself. But as soon as you start caring about what other people think, you start losing your authenticity. 

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. 

Photo of Michael Jordan
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

8. Micheal Jordan

Micheal Jordan is a living legend who has become the face of Fruit of the Loom and Nike. And, he is a highly successful introvert! 

 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. 

Photo of Princess Diana
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

9. Princess Diana

Princess Diana had a kind and gentle demeanor that felt more royal and more down to earth at the exact moment.  

But, can you imagine why I would include a princess on our list of successful introverts? You guessed it! 

Princess Diana was one of introvert celebrities and struggled in the limelight that is the Princess of Wales brought. She preferred to spend time with intimate friends in small settings over the grandeur of her Princess life. 

She also enjoyed taking long walks, swimming laps, and horseback riding. 

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. 

In honor of Princess Diana, keep up her ideals and show the world around you how much you care and how much people mean to you. 

Photo of Rosa Parks
(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

10. Rosa Parks.

Most people think of Rosa Parks as an older lady who refused to sit in the back of the bus during segregation in the South of the United States. But in truth, Rosa Parks was only 42 years old, and she had been a civil rights activist for years before that fateful day. 

She was a sexual assault investigator before she was the woman who sat on the bus. For 12 years before that, she started helping people with the NAACP in criminal justice. She always was a strong woman who stood up for what she believed in. 

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 hard, 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. You will always go to bed with a clear conscience, and you might inspire actual change in the world. 

Bottom line.

What do you think about this list? When I began to study introverted personality I felt so inspired. Introverts can be highly successful people who change the world! 

Whether through hard work and preservation or standing up for what you believe in, you can make a difference in the world, even if you are an introvert. 

These successful famous introverts got to where they are, not despite their introversion, but seeing it as an asset and using it as the cornerstone of their success. 

What lesson are you taking with you to change your own life? 

About Mello Woman

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am passionate about all things wellness and positive growth. Hopefully, this post (and the others on Mello Woman) will help inspire you in a positive way.

Leave a Comment