top of page

Why Do We Underestimate Ourselves? These Introverts Reached the Top!

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Do introverts have what it takes to succeed? Packed with insights and surprising facts!

Do you find that many introverts underestimate themselves? I believe this because I did this for years. Many of us don't believe we can compete. We observe seemingly more confident, sociable people win over crowds and motivate teams and believe we can't do that. But there are many examples that prove this theory wrong. Perhaps you are one of them? Many introverts have explored their true strengths and tackled challenges their way toward reaching their own dreams.

In honor of Independence Day, let's look at the inspiring stories of US presidents who were successful in the most stressful, interactive, leadership role in the world.

What traits are critical to succeed at such a high level? What lessons can we take away?

During today's Introvert Revolution, introverts worldwide are pushing back on the stereotypes of yesterday and embracing who they are, proving anything is possible. But the highest office in the land? Could introverts succeed in such an outgoing, demanding role, especially in the less progressive eras of the past?

For this week's blog, I've compiled an apolitical list of past presidents (through #44) considering their personality type and their greatness. The list is not based on ideology or even policy, but more so on their personal traits. Their greatness is based on independent ratings.

As an amateur historian and ardent introvert, I have been intrigued by this subject. The project has posed many challenges in comparing the personalities of presidents during peace and wartime, from the 18th century and the world of today. I also discovered some cool presidential facts that will leave you amazed (and give you lots of material for your July 4th party).

Top 5 Introverts (scored the highest on the Introvert rating**)

  1. Gerald Ford (93% Introvert; 47% Greatness*): despite assuming the presidency in very difficult times, Ford placed country over party and over his own personal ambitions. He was principled, empathetic, humble, transparent, and selfless in his actions. Ford was driven to do the right thing...and it cost him the election after two years.

  2. Harry Truman (92% Introvert; 75% Greatness*): always the underdog, Truman followed nearly 4 terms by FDR but boldly set his own agenda in the face of the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War. Truman was an avid learner, very humble, and valued a very small but loyal group of confidants. Truman was patient yet decisive. He was resilient despite many issues of the time and political naysayers. He fired General MacArthur on principle and shaped the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe in a strategic and caring way to turn the page on WWII.

  3. Jimmy Carter (91% Introvert; 45% Greatness*): Carter was smart, passionate, and humble. His modest upbringing shaped his politics. He was determined yet quiet. His inability to motivate the nation, rejuvenate the economy, and solve the Iran hostage crisis opened the door for a much stronger personality - Ronald Reagan.

  4. Abraham Lincoln (90% Introvert; 95% Greatness*): in the most challenging of circumstances, unlike his many predecessors, he stood on principle to address the issues that were tearing the nation apart, namely slavery. He was actually not well-liked during his presidency. He was socially awkward and very humble. He was resilient during the long Civil War, yet remained principled. Lincoln journaled often to help vent and process issues and became a great orator through practice and determination. Lincoln was quite circumspect and valued the opinions of an uncommonly diverse cabinet.

  5. Franklin Roosevelt (87% Introvert; 89% Greatness*): quite serious and self-confident. His polio affliction marked his personal struggle and drove his relations with people and his wife Eleanor. He became patient and persistent. Roosevelt was very empathetic despite his exclusive upbringing. Roosevelt was a visionary through times of recovery from the Great Depression and WWII. He appeared calm and personable while optimistic and transparent.

Top 3 Extroverts (scored the lowest on the Introvert rating**)

  1. Theodore Roosevelt (10% Introvert; 81% Greatness*): Roosevelt was an "unstoppable ball of energy." He loved being president. He loved being the focus of attention. He craved adventure and relished the power. His energy and optimism lifted the nation out of the post-Civil War doldrums. He remained a kid at heart and accumulated varied accomplishments with trust-busting and progressive ideals. He was principled, passionate, and persuasive both as president, as calvary lead with the Rough Riders in Cuba, and as an explorer in the American West, Amazon, and Africa.

  2. John Adams (19% Introvert; 63% Greatness*): Adams was considered quite the socialite. He was tactless and often emotionally out of control. Yet his honesty and courage helped to progress the ideals Washington had modeled.

  3. Lyndon Johnson (20% Introvert; 69% Greatness*): LBJ was bigger than the room. He was a natural politician. He was considered cruel, hard, and ruthless. LBJ was egotistical and liked to hear himself talk. He was wildly volatile but quite persuasive and manipulative. He wielded tremendous power which he generally directed, perhaps surprisingly, to help others through social and civil rights reforms.

2 Presidents Right in the Middle (scored ~50% on the Introvert rating**)

  1. George Washington (50% Introvert; 93% Greatness*): Washington utilized his resiliency, courage, humility, and charisma to convert chaos to success, both on the battlefield and as the first president. Washington was brilliant in considering how to translate the Constitution into practice and balance his reflective nature with his ability to engage others.