Abraham Lincoln and Emma Watson have something in common. So do Eleanor Roosevelt and Christina Aguilera. They, like an estimated one third to one half of the population, are introverts.
While extroverts tend to gain their energy in social situations, introverts typically recharge through solitude and feel drained from too much stimulation. It might be easy to assume that those who gravitate toward the spotlight of fame are extroverts, but the truth is that many of our most prominent faces, past and present, have actually identified as introverts.
Introverts are hardly a bunch of shy wallflowers -- they are proven leaders who can make great public speakers. Don't believe us? Check out the list of 16 prominent introverts below. Keep in mind, too, that the famous faces listed below comprise just a drop in the bucket -- the list of famous introverts also often includes Michael Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harrison Ford, Charles Darwin and David Letterman, among many others.
The Harry Potter creator, who was recently revealed as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is frequently cited as an introvert. People who identify as introverts often report feeling most creative when they're alone with their own thoughts, rather than in groups. Indeed, Rowling recalls on her website that she first had the idea for Harry Potter in 1990 when she was traveling alone on a delayed train from Manchester to London.
"I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn't have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one…," she writes. "I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became more and more real to me."
Writer and introvert expert Susan Cain describes the Microsoft co-founder and chairman as an introvert. "We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point," she wrote in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking, the Chicago Tribune reported. "Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton, no matter how he polishes his social skills, and Bill Clinton can never be Bill Gates, no matter how much time he spends alone with a computer." He's also an example of someone who's introverted without being shy, Cain noted in a Psychology Today blog: "Bill Gates is quiet and bookish, but apparently unfazed by others’ opinions of him: he’s an introvert, but not shy."
And perhaps Cain's work has struck a nerve with the business magnate: He chose her TED talk as one of his 13 favorites.
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Thanks Steph. Interesting reading.
There are just too many things in those articles that I want to respond to, but I don't have the energy at the present.
However, while reading, one of the major things that struck me for the first time was the thought that my ex-wife was probably an extrovert. I often said that she was like a race-horse with blinders on. She wouldn't stop to consider the results of what she wanted to do. She was focused on a certain course of action, and she would charge ahead. Nothing would stop her. No wonder we didn't understand each other.
Another thing that caught my attention: "Introverts dislike interrupting." That's me, & that's one of the reasons I feel frustrated talking to my sister and other extroverts. I don't get to say much because they don't stop for a breath.
Also: "Comments made by introverts have more depth than the general level of conversation; because this may make people feel uncomfortable, they ignore the comment. Later, another person may say the same thing and receive a great response. The introverted person feels unseen. It's frustrating and confusing for them." I've had that happen to me more than once on Atheist Nexus, and I respond by posting much less.
Speaking softly or slowly is another trait of myself and other introverts. Because of that, extroverts (and some introverts) may think we don't have anything to contribute, or we're too frustratingly slow to bear. I must admit that I'm guilty of wanting to speed-up other slow-talkers, even though I are one : )
We sound similar Spud - I also don't get a word in sometimes because Extroverts won't stop and give me time to say something. I also agree about the comments too - I am a deep thinker and many don't like thinking deeply.