While old souls do tend to be introverted and avoid the hectic lifestyle that fame can bring, it doesn't mean that there aren't successful exceptions to the rule.
In this article, we'll be exploring some of the most famous old souls of modern years.
Just like extroversion vs. introversion, old souls come in many forms. We'll explore what makes these famous old souls tick, and some of the important lessons we can all learn from them.
Old Souls: A Recap
In a very basic sense an old soul is someone who is older than their years; be this in physical presentation, mannerisms, interests, or overall behavior.
In their youth, old souls appear wiser than their years and often elevate themselves above what they deem to be frivolous such as trends, material possessions, drama, and so on.
Instead, the old soul is obsessed with finding true meaning in the world and within their lives.
This means that the old soul is never happy living a banal or ‘surface-level' life, making a standard 9-to-5 job, for example, an impossible feat.
Because they tend to shun what isn't the ‘norm' old souls are often viewed as eccentrics or settle on the fringes of mainstream society.
While often, due to their wisdom, old souls may find themselves in a position of power, or even changing the world, it is important to note that fame and notoriety are never the driving force.
Instead, the focus of the old soul’s endeavors is seeking truth and peeling back the layers of their focus until they discover the answers that they seek.
Traits of an Old Soul
Are you wondering if someone in your life or a famous person you like is an old soul?
I've created a checklist of common traits that are often viewed as indicative of an old soul and may help you to find out!
- Thirst for knowledge
- Views quality over quantity
- Is wise or perceptive beyond their years
- Is the person people turn to for sage advice
- May be spiritual
- Are emotionally stable or emotionally rational
- Has deeper interests often connected to another time
- Is a deep or critical thinker, likes to reflect
- Doesn't like to gossip and avoids drama
- Values time alone or is introverted
- Avoids superficial relationships
- Tend to look inward instead of outward
- Inquisitive; loves learning from the past
- Is able to view the bigger picture
- May be an outsider or have a small friend group
- Often appears more mature than their age
- Values time spent at home
- Likes to reminisce
5 Famous Old Souls and What we can Learn From Them
There are a handful of articles that name famous old souls but largely those mentioned are obscure politicians or bygone figures.
Because of that, I've decided to do some investigating and draw my own conclusions on some of the most well-known old souls of modern years.
Each of the eccentric characters on this list has made a name for themselves across the globe for their work, but also have so much that they can teach us.
So without further ado, here are 5 famous old souls and the important lessons we can learn from them.
1. Tom Hanks
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Actor Tom Hanks' integrity is well-known throughout Hollywood, where such characteristics can be in quite short supply.
From his early roles, Hanks has frequently played characters which may be viewed as old souls themselves, such as Forrest Gump or Robert Langdon; the epitome of a literary and cinematic old soul.
As an old soul, Tom Hanks is interested in peeling back the layers of any given situation, script, or character which is why his performances always appear so authentic and relatable.
I believe this, along with his gentle, old soul integrity is the reason why Tom Hanks is such a well-loved and award-worthy actor.
Looking deeper, Tom Hanks also purveys more old soul traits.
Not only are the characters he plays often eccentric, but the man himself is too. You only need to watch a few interviews to see that Tom Hanks has a very unique way of looking at the world.
Firstly, he has an unconventional hobby of collecting typewriters.
Secondly, he likes to capture photographs of abandoned items he finds on his journeys and ponders about them on his Instagram.
This ability to look at the world through a completely different lens and appreciate the things that many of us overlook truly cements Tom Hanks' role as one of the most famous old souls out there.
Tom Hanks' Message
There's so much that we can learn by paying attention to Tom Hanks' outlook of life, but probably the most important message Tom Hanks has is to move through life with kindness.
There are few industries more cutthroat than the Hollywood film industry, but Tom Hanks has proven that you don't need to throw people under the bus to succeed in life.
Where the adage says ‘nice guys finish last' Tom Hanks has forged his own path and holds himself to a high professional and personal standard.
Just think how much nicer the world would be if we all heeded Tom Hanks' message and lived our lives a little more kindly.
2. Doris Day
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Hollywood legend Doris Day is another perfect example of an old soul who valued integrity and morals over fame and fortune.
Doris day rose to fame in the ’50s and ’60s and was known for her wholesomeness and exuberant energy. It's worth noting that the role that Day was most well-known for was that of Calamity Jane; a historical figure.
Aside from her more wholesome image, what made Doris Day an old soul was her integrity.
In 1973 Doris Day left Hollywood and retired from acting. Why? Because she didn't like how the attitudes were changing as the film industry transformed from its golden age into the modern cinema we know today.
Even in the early 70's Doris Day was still a well-known and successful actress, but, as an old soul not driven by the trappings of money and notoriety, she was able to step back from the life that she had loved for over two decades and turn her attention to more fulfilling pursuits.
When she left Hollywood she used her wealth to start the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978.
This turn to the philanthropic is indicative of an old soul as they know that true fulfillment comes from doing what you love and what is right and not what makes the most money.
Day summed this up herself when speaking of her Hollywood departure saying about life that everyone should:
“Live it, and have fun, enjoy each day,” […] “You know, it’s not coming back again and enjoy each day. I’m looking out and the sun is shining and it’s so pretty in the garden, what’s not to love?”
Doris Day's Message
Doris day teaches us never to compromise upon our values, even if it seems like everyone else in the world is changing.
Doris Day used her old soul wisdom to hold true to herself and not bend to what must have been quite a high-pressure environment.
She teaches us instead to focus on that which makes our heart happy and not our wallet and to make the most of each and every moment we have on this planet by living meaningfully.
3. Stephen Fry
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Actor, comedian, and jack of all intellectual trades Stephen Fry is the epitome of an eccentric old soul. Even when young Fry seemed to be middle-aged!
Stephen Fry's style can be viewed as traditional and scholarly, and with interests usually reserved for the intellectuals such as reading, theatre, and trivia, it's safe to say that Stephen Fry is an old soul through and through.
Alongside demonstrating the eccentric side of old souls, Stephen Fry also exemplifies the old soul’s truth-seeking desire and thirst for knowledge.
Fry is a full-blown academic and goes through the world asking why, instead of believing the truths of others.
In fact, Fry is passionate about disproving common misconceptions that we take for granted and has presented the popular panel show QI for many years.
Like many other old souls, Stephen Fry is a private person.
While he isn't afraid to voice his witty opinions on the world on Twitter, when it comes to his personal life, Fry prefers to be much more selective.
Stephen Fry's Message
Stephen Fry teaches us to find our own truth. While we may live a perfectly content life just floating through the years never questioning anything, we will only live a truly happy and fulfilled life if we seek our own truth.
We don't have to find the answers to the universe or reveal the truth by some complex scientific discovery.
Instead, as Fry shows us, by taking the time to look a little deeper instead of taking things at face value, we can start to uncover true meaning and understanding.
4. Jeff Goldblum
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If Stephen Fry is the quintessentially British old soul, then Jeff Goldblum is Fry's American counterpart.
Jeff Goldblum is the definition of quirky. Like Stephen Fry, Jeff Goldblum possesses the old soul’s lust for knowledge.
This can be seen within his own broad-spectrum interests, such as acting, jazz, presenting, and dance.
In fact, his curious streak got a chance to shine in his own TV series ‘The World According to Jeff Goldblum' on Disney+.
Put simply, Jeff Goldblum, like Tom Hanks is simply fascinating to talk to. This is probably why Goldblum has such a mass cult following.
Like Doris Day, Jeff Goldblum also admires the simple things in life.
While he enjoys boldly patterned clothing and quality brands, he admits to keeping a minimal wardrobe. He also keeps meals very simple, which he spoke about in a recent interview:
“I mixed up some eggs for me and Emilie, rustic style […] I put those in the pan and then some grated cheese and just kind of mash it up. I’m very happy with a thing like that.”
However, Jeff Goldblum manages to achieve something that no other old soul on this list has; he's able to simultaneously fit in, and yet stand out from the crowd.
Jeff Goldblum has been able to channel his old soul strengths to allow him to surmount his old soul weaknesses. For example, as we've learned, old souls are emotionally attuned and able to see the bigger picture.
Jeff Goldblum uses this ability to read a room and navigate social encounters. He's used his old soul skills to perfectly read people’s souls and is able to become exactly who he needs to be to ensure successful interactions.
This is why in interviews Goldblum always seems to achieve a deep level of rapport with his interviewer within a few short minutes.
Jeff Goldblum’s Message
Jeff Goldblum teaches us the value of perspective. Modern life moves fast, and sometimes we barely have the time to focus on ourselves let alone anyone else.
This can narrow our perspective and can impact upon our relationship with others.
However, by broadening our world view we can open ourselves up to a variety of great experiences, adventures, and new people, which can give our lives the depth of meaning that all old souls crave.
5. Greta Thunburg
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Climate change activist Greta Thunburg is the perfect example of someone who is far wiser and far more mature than their years.
Now 17, Greta has achieved more in her short life than many of us will do in a lifetime.
At first, this might seem like a contradiction to what an old soul is; as largely old souls avoid notoriety or shun fame at all costs.
However, Greta used her old-soul wisdom and maturity to realize that in order for her vital message to be heard, she needed exposure. In fact, the teen goes so far as to declare herself ‘the most reluctant activist in modern times'.
One of the reasons why Greta Thunburg has already made such an impact upon the world comes directly from her old soul gifts.
Her authenticity and honesty give credence to her words, and a gravitas usually reserved for someone much older. This makes her stand out in a crowded sea of voices all fighting for change.
Of course, Greta Thunburg still experiences the downsides of living in a body younger than the years of your soul, but like Jeff Goldblum is able to put things in perspective as she explained during an interview:
“I don't want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it's a very small price to pay.”
Greta Thunburg's Message
Greta Thunburg teaches us to trust and value our voice. While few of us will feel the calling to speak out on such a global scale, there are many times in day-to-day life where we let our voices be silenced.
Whether it’s not speaking out at work because you don't want to cause ‘drama', or stifling your dreams because they seem ‘unrealistic', to apologizing even when you know you've done nothing wrong, learning to champion our inner voice is the key to achieving our full potential.
No matter if you're an old soul or a youthful free spirit we can all agree there's something to learn from each of the wise people on this list.
This could be living with kindness like Tom Hanks, staying true to yourself like Doris Day, or truth-seeking like Stephen Fry.
How about practicing perspective like Jeff Goldblum, or championing your own voice like Greta Thunburg?
While these famous examples of old souls all take their gifts to the next level, it doesn't mean you can't add a little of their lessons into your life.
Try channeling Tom Hanks' kindness, for example, by praising a colleague at work, take on Stephen Fry's task of truth-seeking by Googling something your curious about, or get vocal like Greta Thunburg and speak your own truth!
One thing’s for sure, from small acorns mighty oaks grow, and you may end up unlocking your true potential by following the teachings of these wise old souls.
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I’m Chloe, an introverted, old soul, just trying to make my way in the world! Aside from studying and writing about the spiritual, I fill my spare time with reading and making all manner of things from knitted scarves to clay creations. I define myself as a ‘low-key Pagan’ and focus my attention on living a good, kind, and empathic life. For enquiries contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org