People often mistaken the word “introvert” for shyness which is not true, many introverts are very confident, however, they are usually confident in a quiet way (although it is true that most shy people are introverted). Shyness is when someone has anxiety in social situations, wishes they could talk to people but often feel too afraid. Introverts however, is more of a personality type where one prefers solitude over social situations, they prefer alone time and self-reflecting as opposed to socializing with other people. This stems from the fact that introverts get energized by reflecting inwards, whereas people who are extroverted get energized the more they socialize.
Therefore, introverts choose carefully what they say and who they talk to since for them this feels like “effort,” they don’t have social anxiety but prefer to hone their energy by talking less or straight to the point. It’s difficult for surveyors to pinpoint who is introverted and who is extroverted without analyzing their daily lives, but the estimate is around one-third to half of the population. Introverts are a good chunk of some of the most famous people that ever lived.
Some traits that introverts have include being very intense, reserved, thinking before making a decision to act or talk, highly focused, observant, hate small talk, love thought-provoking conversation, and good listeners.
Much of the famous Albert Einstein’s deep thinking came from his introverted personality. He was genius at connecting concepts and abstract thinking, a common trait amongst introverted people. “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” Albert Einstein also stated “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
Mahatma Gandhi’s known for having a huge role in the Indian independence movement. Gandhi was known for solitude, he was a master of the non-violence resistance (almost an active yet reserved movement if that makes any sense).
JK Rowling is a self-proclaimed introvert, someone who loves to read and write. She was known to connect ideas and have abstract ways of thinking, which was what allowed her to come up with mind-intriguing fantasies. She was so reserved when coming up with her ideas on a bus that she didn’t have the courage to ask to borrow a pen. JK Rowling was known to manipulate her poor environment in England with her imagination to come up with one of the most famous fantasy novel series, Harry Potter. Much of Harry Potter was based on the scenery in England and fictitious concepts Rowling could create in her mind. This was conjured up by her introverted way of thinking.
Bill Gates once said in a speech: “I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.” In this speech, he was reflecting of his own personality. Bill Gates growing up would indulge himself in computers for hours upon hours (before they were easily accessible and built for the everyday average user).
Although there is very little information about the famous Rosa Parks (famous for the Montgomery Bus Boycott), Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, states that obituaries described her as “soft-spoken, sweet, and small in stature. They said she was ‘timid and shy’ but had ‘the courage of a lion.’ They were full of phrases like ‘radical humility’ and ‘quiet fortitude.'”
Obama on the outside has the definition of “quiet confidence,” he is a bold and to the point speaker, never seems to be thrown off, seems a bit reserved yet knows how to take charge. In an article in the New York Times, the writer Peter Baker states that “Obama comes across as an introvert, someone who finds extended contact with groups of people outside his immediate circle to be draining.”
Mark Zuckerberg’s introversion aided him in creating the biggest social media platform on the planet, Facebook. We can bet his solitude days of pondering led to his many innovative ideas that turned Facebook into what it is today. According to Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, in a New York Times post, she stated that Mark Zuckerberg is “shy and introverted and he often does not seem very warm to people who don’t know him, but he is warm.”
Guy Kawasaki was one of Apple’s first employees, credited hugely for bringing the Macintosh to market. In a tweet he said “You may find this hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I have a “role” to play, but I fundamentally am a loner.”
The greatest and most famous investor of all time, Warren Buffett, is actually NOT an impulsive risk-taker. He does his research, takes long, thoughtful, calculated risks. Buffett has a non-emotional approach to investing. His wife, who was more social and loved to attend social gatherings would often drag the billionaire along, but Buffett would often sit in the corner going over financial statements instead, a classic introvert trait.
This is probably a shocker! What, Lady Gaga, an introvert? One of the most controversial, yet most famous pop artists quiet? That’s right, Lady Gaga once stated in an interview “I don’t really meet that many other artists because I’m actually kinda shy. I might not be shy with people that I know but with people that I don’t know I am very shy. I generally really keep to myself and I am focused on my music. But when I do meet people that I have lots in common with it goes really well. I always feel shy in the Hollywood scene. I feel a bit like I did in high school, like I don’t really fit in.” We can assume she doesn’t really mean “shy” as in anxious, but more that she’d “rather” be alone or have a long deep talk with someone she can hit it off with as opposed to having small talk with various different people at social events.
Marilyn Monroe was an introvert. Marlon Brando explains that when he first met Monroe at a party, while everyone was dancing and having fun, she was unnoticed in a corner playing on a piano. In a rare interview, Marilyn Monroe states as a kid “they used to call me the mouse, because I didnt… I never say anything” as in she was as quiet as a mouse. Monroe had a rare, mystique-ness to her, a hard-to-read quality, seeming mysterious is common amongst introverts.
This one is a bit hard to look into, but since Jay Z is rarely ever in the public eye, seems to appear very reserved and doesn’t really encourage “small talk” in interviews, it seems as though he’s quite introverted. In fact there are some videos where he seems to be more analyzing the environment than interested in the conversation. From reading Jay Z’s biography it seems as though his personality was similar to JK Rowling where he was able to use his environment to perfect his craft, in his case, to come up with complex lyrics such as double and even triple entendres and often lyrics that have a deeper meaning.
Abraham Lincoln was known for being the quiet leader. Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, states that it was easier for people to be successful as introverts earlier in history as people saw integrity and good deeds as high value, which was what Lincoln was well-known for. Ralph Emerson states that Abraham Lincoln was a revered as a man who did not offend by superiority.
In an article on Huffington Post, Michael Melcher wrote that “Hillary Clinton is an introvert. I’m quite sure about this. My best guess is that, in Myers-Briggs terms, she is an INTJ. This explains a lot about how the world regards her and why the press seems to find her so problematic.” He further states “people assume that everything she does has some core meaning that has implications for her potential presidency or her character. But sometimes Hillary is just being an introvert, and that’s that.”
Jimi Hendrix, one of the most famous rockstars on the planet was apparently very quiet and reserved. His studio engineer Eddie Kramer described Hendrix as “a very, very shy guy.”
This Telegraph.co.uk article explains that when David Letterman was up and coming, before being known as the successful talk show host he’s known as today, he was “an anxious, secure introvert, uncomfortable in his own skin and uneasy around others.”
Queen B states as a kid she was always the quiet type, and would perform on stage as a way to rebel against her quiet tendencies. She once said “I always try to be myself. Ever since I was an introverted kid, I’d get on stage and be able to break out of my shell.”
The famous fashion designer, who Jay Z made a song after is actually very introverted. One may imagine that a handsome fashion designer is out partying with super models on the regular, but this is completely false! Tom Ford himself has stated he’s introverted; “I’m actually very introverted. I’m very shy. I’m very emotional.” He’s also said “Because of my job people think I am out every night, but I really hate all that. I am somebody who likes to be alone and see some close friends. I am a shy and introspective person.”
Bob Dylan, one of the greatest rock-stars/folk musicians in history, was known to be a quiet self-reflector. The likes of Johnny Cash and Gary Moore both literally described Bob Dylan as “really shy” on two unrelated encounters!
The pop sensation from the famous group One Direction, Zayn Malik admittedly stated that he was a very quiet and introverted person as a youngster. He states “I was a very introverted, quiet, reserved person. I loved singing but I never had any major experience doing it and I didn’t know what to expect. Not knowing what could happen was very daunting for me.”
In Esquire Magazine, Barbara Walters, someone who speaks on live TV for a living states the following: “I’m fairly introverted. You know how women can get up and dance alone? I can’t do it. I’m afraid everyone is looking at me. Yet I can get up in front of ten thousand people and talk.”
Steven Spielberg one of the greatest directors in history, inspired by movies such as Star Wars to follow his passion, was an introvert. He found joy in solitary activities, and stated “I never felt comfortable with myself, because I was never part of the majority. I always felt awkward and shy and on the outside of the momentum of my friends’ lives.”
Gaby Wood who wrote an article for Marie Claire about an interview she had with Christina Auguilera, wrote the following: “If it weren’t for her bleach-blonde hair, I wouldn’t have recognized her. Because, besides being petite, she is, it seems, shy. She tells me that she has always been “intense and introverted” and that, as a result, she’s felt like an outsider her entire life.”
Courtney Cox, famous for being Monica on friends admitted she’s an introvert. During an interview with Howard Stern, Courtney Cox stated that she enjoys being a homebody unlike her then husband David Arquette who liked to go out dancing. In that same interview, Courtney literally states “I’m much more of an introvert.”
Emma Watson also stated bluntly to Rookie Magazine that she is an introvert at heart. Funny how Watson, famous for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, and JK Rowling, famous for creating Harry Potter are both introverts. Watson finds it awkward when people praise her for not wanting to go out and party because that’s who she innately is. “It’s interesting, because people say things to me like, ‘It’s really cool that you don’t go out and get drunk all the time and go to clubs,’ and I’m just like, I mean, I appreciate that, but I’m kind of an introverted kind of person just by nature, it’s not like a conscious choice that I’m making necessarily. It’s genuinely who I am.”
Harold Norse, the famous writer, described Brando as being shy and tense. He was known to seek out and engage in long thought-provoking conversation with the quiet wallflower at parties. Marlon Brando was also famous for pausing between words with long extraneous pauses thinking before choosing words to use. These are traits of an introvert, someone who pauses to think, someone who’d rather engage in deep conversation with one person as opposed to being the “life of the party.”
Other Introverts (With Less Detailed Information) Include:
Joe Budden (According to various tweets including this one)
Other Sources: IntrovertSpring