What Success Factors Help Introverts Dominate the Top 10 Billionaire list

Dec 22, 2021 | Introversion

What Success Factors Help Introverts Dominate the Top 10 Billionaire list

In a recent LinkedIn poll, I sought to hear what people’s views were about whether introverts are cut out to be successful entrepreneurs or not.

The results were:

Yes! 100% – 78%
50/50 – 16%
Other – 6%

This was not surprising. I did the poll to get perspective and further understanding of my introvert audience and dream clients aspirations for success and the barriers that may hold them back.

Two arguments stood out, and these were: you have to define success on your own terms to answer the question authentically, secondly the top Billionaires list is dominated by well known introverts such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and J.K Rowling

Being a visionary, my default is seeking to project into the future and ask Why or Why Not?

Therefore, I decided to take a closer look at these highly successful introverts to find out what are the introvert success factors they possibly have in common.


Here are my Top 3:

Quietness: Many introverts (myself included) get defensive about being called “quiet”, however, quietness is a real superpower in a world that can’t stop talking (Susan Cain). The opposite of quietness is not noise but listening. These billionaires don’t talk or show up all the time on our news feeds, but they are listening to the times, the happenings and using this information to make informed decisions that have shaped our world. Warren Buffett is well known to monitor the impact of world events on financial market changes, and makes predictions and informed decisions that keep earning him millions and billions.

Stepping Out and In: These Billionaires don’t seek the limelight and are not interested in fitting in. However they step out for causes that matter to them, and step in to provide answers. If you check out their childhood history, many were regarded as misfits, socially awkward and loners. However, these attributes mean’t that they could focus on using solitude to harness their introvert deep thinking and processing superpowers to come up with ideas and solutions that have shaped our world today. Not needing to fit in or have that external validation to feel complete, they look inwards to awaken and pursue their passion.

Perseverance and Grit: In one definition, success is defined as “the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. For these Billionaires to get to where they have gotten to, will not have come without multitude of failures along the way. Since introverts focus more on internal rather than external stimuli to drive them forward, they are to be found still in pursuit of project outcomes and completions long past when the euphoric feelings associated with the project have disappeared. Looking at these list of high achievers, they are well known from the onset to play the long game.


Let’s explore some stories:

  • In a popular interview in 2015, Elon Musk shed a tear or two when expressing the hurt he felt at not getting support from his heroes and mentors to pursue his dream. Fast-forward to 2021, not only has he been highly successful in pursuing his dream despite set back, he is shaping our lives and thinking, and become the richest man in the world.
  • Oprah Winfrey is well known to have been told in her earlier years that she had a face that was only meant for radio. She decided not to fit in and speak like Barbara Walters, despite that being the gold standard of how to run talkshows. Today, her talkshow is the show to be on and is rumoured to be a key factor in helping people decide on the next president of the United States.
  • J.K Rowling in a Tweet in 2016 said, ” I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen“. As we know she had at least 12 rejections, hit rock bottom many times, picked herself up and kept going before getting the Yes! that has shaped the world of children’s books forever.
  • Richard Branson is quoted as saying, “when someone offers you an opportunity, say Yes! first whether or not you know how to execute it, then figure out how to execute it“. Consequently, he has pioneered lots of business ideas, failed at many and succeeded at many that have shaped industries from travel to finance and how we do leadership and employee engagement today.


My conclusion is, despite 2/3 of the population being extroverted and the saying that “majority rules”, it seems that when 1/3 of the population of introverts chose to use their introvert superpowers, magic happens.


So! my dear Introvert entrepreneurs and leaders “KNOW AND HARNESS YOUR INTROVERT STRENGTHS TO THRIVE”

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