Many accomplished people have been shy during periods of their life. Two examples:
Craig McCaw – “Telecommunications billionaire and wireless pioneer, Craig McCaw recognized that shortcomings (shyness and dyslexia) could also be assets. “Maybe my whole attitude toward life comes from being forced, as a relatively shy person, to confront people and ask them to do something, and try to explain why it might be in their interest .”
Katherine Graham – “Not only did Katherine Graham describe herself as shy and insecure when she took over responsibility for running the Washington Post after her husband’s death, but she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for telling her story in her memoir entitled Personal History.”
From the page Shy Celebrities , which lists dozens of people, with reference links.
Another example: Steve Wozniak, Co-founder, Apple Computer.
A news article reported he “was such a chronically shy teenager he could barely summon the courage to speak to other kids, instead he would spend his evenings tinkering with calculators and dreaming of super computers.”
Another interview article asked him: “Are you still as shy as you were back in 1975?”
Steve Wozniak: “I would not have been able to have this conversation, you know, back in the extreme shyness period, which extended all the way through starting Apple. I would sit in the back of a computer club and never raise my hand to even say this is how you ought to consider doing something.
“I probably wouldn’t even do that now. I’d be too scared to open my mouth in any way that would cause conflict.”
[Reuters News, Sep. 27, 2006]
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“Although I’d never programmed in BASIC, I found that there was none for the 6502 yet. So I decided that I could show off (I was shy so the only way I could get noticed was by doing something great) by writing the first BASIC for the 6502.” [from PowerGS Woz Interview ]
In 2000 Steve was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.