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

Expert Answers
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

umi6683 | Student

Wealth, education, tittle of the job and family class.

rainbowfoot | Student

When one knows his/her strength and weaknesses and has the ability to manipulate them to one's advantage. I believe that makes a person powerful. You can't be too rigid in the ever changing world.

tocampo1 | Student
  1. a vision
  2. a passion for that vision
  3. ability to persuade others to believe in your vision 
  4. ability to co-create with people of multiple disciplines to produce your vision
  5. ability to withstand success and failure
  6. ability to remain indifferent to monetarial returns
  7. ability to use monetarial returns to change the world for the better 
  8. make a difference in another persons life.
caglatekeli | Student

powerful people know boundaries of their personality and they are enthusiastic about personal growth,

they dont see others as sources of sorrow or happiness

they dont worry much about what others think , their locus of control is balanced

they have good social interactions, get along well with others BUT also can enjoy loneliness at times

they can forgive both others and themselves and move on easily

these are in my opinion, of course

hamidnaviri | Student

Self-Confidence, knowledge and strong mentality, made everybody strong in whole of life. However we should noted that being powerfull means we should be strong against rise and down of life, that is not meaning cruelty and become dictator in our boundary.

Being powerfull means we should be hopefull to future and through peace with power of peace, we make secure Environment around ourself and taste joyful peace from the bottom of our heart.


elekzy | Student

I feel power comes from a strong and firm self will.