It may be hard for some of you to believe, but not every rich and famous person in the world got there by being boisterous and in-your-face all the time. In fact, some of the most intelligent, successful people are the quietest and most self-reflective among us. Many of the people on this list actually owe their success to the fact that they spend a good amount of time listening to and learning from others, and are not turned off by the notion of having hours to themselves with which to practice their craft.
1. Albert Einstein
Einstein is arguably the greatest mind in human history. Theories which he hypothesized decades ago are still being proven to be true years after his death. His theory of relativity has basically shaped theoretical physics and astronomy since its publication. Of course, none of this would have ever come to pass had Einstein not spent a great deal of time in deep thought. His dedication to the field of physics and astronomy required long hours of quiet study, but the results of his efforts changed the face of mankind forever.
2. Steven Spielberg
The creator of Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park is a known introvert in the movie industry. But how else would he gain the knowledge and skills necessary to create the silver screen masterpieces he has throughout his amazing career if he had not spent thousands of hours watching and studying other directors’ works? The next time you tell your friends you can’t hang out, and then spend the next five hours watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix, think of Spielberg.
3. Mark Zuckerberg
It definitely is odd to think of the CEO and founder of the most popular social network in the world to be a bit, well, anti-social. But while the young billionaire is often at the heart of many large-scale presentations and speeches, he prefers genuine connection and intimate relationships to keeping a large posse of followers around. Think about it: he invented Facebook in his dorm room. If he hadn’t spent so much time creating the website in his room, you wouldn’t be able to waste so much time on Facebook in your dorm room!
4. Larry Page
It’s incredibly ironic that the co-founder of Google, a system which caters to the needs of billions of people every day, is considered to be an introvert. We tend to think of introverts as people who aren’t really in tune with their fellow man, but seeing as Page has predicted societal trends correctly for the past two decades, it’s safe to say he’s actually more in tune with humanity than most of us are. However, despite the fact that his company is omnipresent in today’s world, Page himself remains “personally reserved” and “unabashedly geeky.”
5. J.K. Rowling
Rowling has gone on record to say that when the idea for the character of Harry Potter struck her, she was stuck on a delayed train with no pen, and was actually too shy to ask for one. Of course, being shy is not synonymous with being an introvert, but it is a tell-tale sign that she would rather think and work alone without bothering or being bothered by others. Had she not been stuck on that train for hours longer than originally planned, perhaps she would never have dreamt up the character who would make her a billionaire.
6. Warren Buffett
The world-famous billionaire investor may have had a keen eye for business ventures from an incredibly young age, but he initially lacked the “businessman persona” needed to actually put his ideas into action. Since interacting with others didn’t come naturally to him, Buffett enrolled in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” seminar early in his career. As with most of his other decisions, it’s pretty clear this investment turned out to be a great one for Buffett.
7. Steve Wozniak
You would think someone with an awesome nickname like “The Woz” would be a boisterous extrovert. But, like everyone else on this list, Wozniak loves working alone. In his autobiography, Wozniak writes: “Work alone. Not on a committee. Not on a team.” The sentiment in this short piece of advice is clear: he believes his ideas are his and his alone, and should not be homogenized by working with a group of people who may distort his original vision.
8. Barack Obama
The leader of the free world is a known introvert. This might seem counterintuitive to such a high-profile position, since the President will always have to work with committees and groups consisting of people who may or may not agree with his policies and ideas. However, as previously mentioned, introverts believe in their own ideas wholeheartedly, and won’t bend for anyone else simply to appease the masses. Such a stoic, solitary personality, free of indecisiveness, is exactly what is needed to lead a country to prosperity.
Featured photo credit: Albert Einstein painted portrait _DDC9392 / thierry ehrmann via farm5.staticflickr.com