What makes an individual powerful? For essay help, thanks!

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Self-belief, I think, is the root of power. Even if one has money, to have power means to have influence and control, and these qualities start on the inside.

Power can be interpreted many ways: it can be a physical strength, a material strength or a psychological strength, and it...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Self-belief, I think, is the root of power. Even if one has money, to have power means to have influence and control, and these qualities start on the inside.

Power can be interpreted many ways: it can be a physical strength, a material strength or a psychological strength, and it can be asserted positively or negatively. Hitler certainly had power: he believed in his theories, was passionate about achieving his ideala and was a rousing speaker. He was able to acquire financial support, and surrounded himself with intelligent people. Of course, he also used the cruellest of tortures and coercion to progress in his quest.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Many things make a person powerful. Some people may think that they are powerful, but are actually not. Power is only achieved by others recognizing the power within another person.

As for powerful characteristics, some are as follows: inner strength, inner beauty, status (given by others), recognition (again, given by others), and (unfortunately) money.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Confidence in oneself often helps inspire the confidence of others. If you seem to know what you are doing, others are likely to make the same assumption. Self-confidence, however, should not be allowed to become arrogance, which is usually unappealing to others.

I hate to say it, but in our society (as in almost every other societ), the possession of money really does enhance a person's power, perhaps more than anything else.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It depends, of course, on your definition of power.  An individual is powerful if he or she has influence over one or more other people.  Power can be petty, such as forcing one's will on someone else, or useful, such as being a strong leader.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sociologists have discovered that some people seem to be natural "opinion leaders"; these are individuals who, for various reasons, inspire the confidence of others. Opinion leaders serve as a model to others. Opinion leaders tend to be perceived as intelligent and well educated, at least regarding specific fields or issues. A person who is an opinion leader has real power, because they influence the behavior of large groups of people.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many modes of power, a point which is made in the variety of responses you've gotten so far.

Influence over other people's lives can result from money power (hiring, firing, creating jobs, etc.).

Influence over people's opinions can come from expertise and from having a large social network. Professors have a great deal of this kind of power as do some writers and pundits.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think power comes from intelligence. Not just traditional "book learning" intelligence, but that combined with natural common sense and insight. Powerful people use their intelligence to create a plan and execute the elements of the plan effectively. This usually requires a blending of a person's multiple intelligences.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A normal person who has a sense of their own power is usually confident of their abilities and of the influence they can fairly exert upon others. Money can certainly be an added ingredient of power, but it often leads to a greedy sense of self-worth and self-importance--a factor that separates the common man from the truly power-hungry.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Wow... good question.

On the one hand, power is gained by money.  A person who has a lot of money can generally influence others to do what that person wants.

However, money is not everything.  I would say that one thing that makes a person powerful is the force of their personality.  A person who has a strong personality can (if the strong personality is combined with brains and opportunity) become very powerful.  They can make money and then do more with it than a person who is born rich but with less innate charisma and aggressiveness.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team