The Factors and Traits of Character that Lead People to a Position of Power and Influence
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While researching the factors that play a significant role in terms of the power and influence, I found a few very interesting authors, who published works about the power and famous people that are or were in power, particularly journals, newspapers and videos. These authors expressed their opinion concerning the influence and power of the outstanding figures upon people. Moreover, most articles are based on the real facts, especially some particular situations from the history. The goal of this paper is to find out what helps and leads people in terms of obtaining the power and influence. Do they use any magic tricks to make others believe in what they say and follow them? This is the question needs to be answered.
In order to achieve this goal, the paper is organized into five main sections. In the first section, general ideas are provided regarding what the power and influence demand from the leaders and with what other terms or concepts it is connected. In the second section, the outstanding figure of Mother Teresa is discussed in order to find out what has made her an outstanding leader. The third section is devoted to one more figure of the present that is worth being praised and followed – Oprah Winfrey. In the fourth section, a substantially influential person, a well-known politician – Winston Churchill, is discussed. The paper is ended with the fifth section that offers answers to the research question and discusses the factors that matter, when talking about getting people’s attention, love, praise and reliance.
First of all, it is crucial to find out what power and influence are and what is essential for it. There are many definitions, but the main concept of it is to influence others either for a positive or negative purpose. The power can be also defined as “…the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events” (“Power,” n.d.). There are different types of power, and their aims are also of various kinds. There is power of money, power of influence, power of public image and others. However, the type that requires more attention is the power that aims at helping other people. It is essential to find out what helps these people get the love, trust and reliance from the public. In order to make it more understandable, the life and “power” career of three incredible figures, namely Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey and Winston Churchill, were researched.These people deserve to be spoken about and praised, they did not use their power in order to get more money or make their public rate higher, and they had the pure wish to help.
When talking about power in general, there are many factors that have to be taken into consideration. First of all, the power does not always express and fulfill the wishes and desires of the majority. It is a common thing, because there is always somebody dissatisfied with what is happening around him or her. However, this is not acceptable if it does not fulfill people’s wishes in any respect. As a rule, there is a limited circle of people, whose thoughts, words and wishes are taken into consideration. A considerably restricted number of people get some benefit, even profit, from the power. Afterwards, the person, who is in power, has to be taken into account. People are not always ruled and leaded by decent people if talking about the political power. It is their life and their choice to believe this person or not, to follow him or her or not. Sometimes, what these people tell, what they promote is simply done to make one do what he or she are not supposed or are not going to do. The media advertising is another factor that can help people in power to fulfil their plan: there is the whole system of it. The media advertising companies and politicians cooperate: they can influence the economy of the country, for instance, either increase or decrease. The main rule is simple to a considerable degree: if people buy things the whole system works. The society itself is in need of need. People do not always need all the things that are advertised and produced by the economy, but the economy needspeople to feel the lack of these things. Furthermore, personal characteristics and traits of character also play a highly significant role.
It is a fact that Mother Teresa is a person, whose contribution to the world, especially the medicine field, is absolutely enormous and undoubtedly extremely significant. This woman devoted herself to caring for the poor and sick. She founded the centers for aged, disabled and blind, as well as a hospice and leper colony. For her humanitarian work, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. The person who instilled in Mother Teresa a deep commitment to charity was her mother. She taught her that there were no “our, and not our people”, all of them were “ours”. It can be noticed that from the early childhood, she was brought up in a very decent way. Even when being a child, she already knew that it did not matter of what nationality, colour, religion the person is, he or she is still a human; a human that has the same needs as others, the same body as others. When she was eighteen years old, she decided to become a nun and joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. The name of Sister Mary Teresa was taken particularly there. If to consider the fact what today’s teenagers do, one can observe that they are overwhelmed with other problems rather than people’s lives. They prefer to devote their lives to their appearance, fashionable clothes, clubs rather than to some charitable work. This is a common thing today; the society changes, and so do people. However, there still are a lot of people that are always ready and willing to help.
Apart from this, Mother Teresa was struggling against the poverty. When teaching girls at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, she dedicated herself to relieving the poverty of the girls trough the education. Through her generosity, unfailing commitment and kindness to the education of her students, she led them to a life of devotion to Christ. It is essential to point out some main principles of life that Mother Teresa was following and teaching others:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. (Mother Teresa)
Indeed, she found her another calling that later transformed her life. When she was going from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills, she heard the voice of the God that told her: “I want Indian Nuns, Missionaries of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying and the little children” (“Mother Teresa. Biography,” n.d.). All she was doing for the unloved, uncared and unwanted was pure and true. She did not even had a thought about getting something for her work, her feelings and intentions were absolutely disinterested. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, where donations poured in from different parts of the world. In some time, she founded an orphanage, family clinic, leper colony, mobile health clinics and nursing home, as well. She combined a fervent commitment and profound empathy to her cause with unbelievable managerial and organizational skills that gave her the opportunity to develop an effective and vast international organization of missionaries in order to help impoverished people all across the globe. In particular, this organization provides help to the poorest of the poor in the countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They undertake relief work in cases of natural catastrophes like epidemics, famine, and floods. Furthermore, the organization has also centres in Europe, Australia and North America, where it takes care of the homeless, shut-ins, AIDS sufferers, and alcoholics. There is one more idea worth sharing: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” (Mother Teresa).
According to the life and charitable work of Mother Teresa, one can claim that the main factor that helped her in getting the power and influence was love. “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask,’How much love did you put in what you did?”(Mother Teresa) Everything she was doing was done with love, care and faith. She was passionately fighting against the inequality, poverty and people’s insensibility. The thing that helped her in fulfilling her task was a strong belief in what she was doing. She was very confident and straightforward in achieving her goals; she could be at the same time strict and kind. People can feel whether the intensions are true and pure or not. In the case with Mother Teresa, there was no doubt that she was doing all her work with her heart and soul; that is why she got the power and influence. However, that was not her biggest achievement, whereas the most significant thing she got was the people’s trust and love.
Furthermore, there is another person that deserves the attention – Oprah Winfrey. She was working really hard to achieve what she was aiming for. At first, she hosted a TV chat show, after which she started to host her own wildly popular program – The Oprah Winfrey Show. “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be” (“Oprah Winfrey,” n.d.). She has found her place in the world, she was performing the work she liked; she got the pleasure from her work. It was not very complicated for her to get people’s love because of her warm-hearted and open personal style. Oprah Winfrey is considered to be one of the most succesful, wealthy and powerful people in show business. With reference to Forbes magazine, “…Oprah was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world’s only Black billionaire for three years running. Life magazine hailed her as the most influential women of her generation” (“Oprah Winfrey. Biography,” n.d.).
Oprah Winfrey gained the reputation and love of millions of people for the same reason as Mother Teresa did, which is love. She donated a substantial amount of money for charitable organizations, including relief to the victims of the Hurricane Katrina and the education of the girls in South Africa. She is a dedicated activist for children’s rights, especially she is struggling against the children’s abuse. She pays a particular attention to this problem, because in her childhood, she was abused by her relatives.
Furthermore, Oprah Winfrey founded the Family for Better Lives foundation and many other organizations. She has a remarkable talent of convincing people to follow and believe her. She can turn any work of unknown author into a best-seller. What makes people act this way? Her style, whereas her interviews are emotional, seemingly sincere and intimate. It is considered to be “…televised therapy, and diehard fans say she does more than merely entertain and interview, she helps her viewers deal with life” (“Oprah Winfrey,” n.d.). Even after her show had ended, she stayed in the headlines. That is what the power and influence really mean. Her power and influence laid in the talent went so deeply in people’s hearts and minds that it is almost impossible to get her out of there. The reason for this is her kind and warm attitude towards others. The same way that Mother Teresa did, she treats everybody with love, care and equality. Without a doubt, she was interested in it because of the profit, but she combined the pleasant process of improving people’s lives and earning money. Her main principle was: “In the absence of love and belonging there will always be suffering” (“Oprah Winfrey,” n.d.). She also refers to love, because love is the thing that creates the atmosphere of comfort, trust, confidence and respect.
Moreover, Oprah Winfrey uses one more substantially smart and intelligent way of influencing people: she listens to them. On her shows, people have the opportunity to talk and be heard. It does not usually happen in everyday life, because people are rather egoistic, and they bother about themselves in the first place. One can observe absolutely different situation on her shows: people, who had some problems, need some help or just need to feel that somebody cares about them, could come to her show and speak their mind. Furthermore, they could get the solution of their problems there. This is a tactic that is barely going to fail as other people see that there is the real help, and they can always rely on this person.
In addition, there is one more person that needs to be discussed – Winston Churchill. He was a succesful and well-known politician, who held many high posts in Conservative and Liberal governments. He was conferred the dignity of Knighthood by the Queen Elizabeth II and the citizenship of United States by the President Kennedy. Besides being a politician, he was also promoting a literary career. In his political career, he took after his father, when following the sense of independence. The factor that influenced upon his getting power was the struggle against injustice.
While being a Prime Minister, he did a lot of positive changes: he introduced the first minimum wage, several reforms for the prison system and helped in setting up labor exchanges for the unemployement insurance. Furthermore, just like Mother Teresa and Oprah Winfrey, Winston Churchill was fighting agains inequality. He introduced the taxes for the wealthy to pay for new social welfare programs. However, not all of his traits of character were so positive. “In January 1911, Churchill showed his tougher side when he made a controversial visit to a police siege in London. Police had surrounded a house where two robbers had been caught. Churchill’s degree of participation is still in some dispute. Some accounts gave him going to the scene only to see for himself what was going on; others state that he allegedly gave directions to police on how to best storm the building. What is known is that the house caught fire during the siege and Churchill prevented the fire brigade from extinguishing the flames, stating that he thought it better to “let the house burn down,” rather than risk lives rescuing the occupants. The bodies of the two robbers were found inside the charred ruins.” From this situation, it is obvious that power can be obtained not only by means of kindness, but also by means of strictness. As it was mentioned at the beginning, the power does not usually have the bright side only. Sometimes, there is a dark one, as well.
Winston Churchill aimed at improving the country, all fields of it. He did a lot of things in the “navy field”, such as ordering the new warships to be built with oil-fired instead of coal-fired engines. Winston Churchill was one of the first to set up the Royal Navy Air Service and promote the military aircraft. All he wished for was some result, some positive changes in the society. “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result” (Winston Churchill). It can be noticed that he was a purposeful man, whose wish was to reach the aim by any means. He was struggling against the war, wishing to make the world a better place.
In former days, when wars arose from individual causes, from the policy of a Minister or the passion of a King, when they were fought by small regular armies of professional soldiers, and when their course was retarded by the difficulties of communication and supply, and often suspended by the winter season, it was possible to limit the liabilities of the combatants. But now, when mighty populations are impelled on each other, each individual severally embittered and inflamed—when the resources of science and civilisation sweep away everything that might mitigate their fury, a European war can only end in the ruin of the vanquished and the scarcely less fatal commercial dislocation and exhaustion of the conquerors. Democracy is more vindictive than Cabinets. The wars of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings. (House of Commons, 1901).
In conclusion, it is crucial to say that in this research paper, there were analyzed the main features and traits of character that people, who want real, “helpful” power and influence must have. From the examples of Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey and Winston Churchill, it is evident that the main factor of power and influence is reliability. All these three famous and outstanding persons gave people the feeling of safety and security. There is no other way to people’s minds, thoughts and feelings than the way to treat these people as a “family”. “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved” (Mother Teresa). Mother Teresa, despite of people’s nation, status in the society, their wealth, helped all of them. It does not depend whether one was born in a poor or wealthy family as everybody deserves the equal treatment and attitude. This is the thing that assures one whether the person is worth his or her attention and praise or not. Everyone wants to be heard, and this is another pivotal feature of successful and powerful people. They must listen to the others, otherwise no effect of their power will be noticed and produced. This factor is the main, when talking about Oprah Winfrey; she is the lady that symbolizes a “mother”, who is always ready to listen and help. That is why people love and adore her for Oprah’s pure and innocent desire to help. As a rule, nowadays, great politicians and people in power help others not because of their real desire, but for a particular purpose. The purpose can be of any kind: media advertising, promoting, getting higher positions in the society. This is wrong, because people question whether they are deceived or not, whether they are used or not. Furthermore, there is another thing of paramount significance, when talking about the effective power and influence – equality. Winston Churchill was the person, who was always struggling against war, injustice and inequality. In this sense, his desire to make the world a better place to live in made people admire and respect him, despite the fact that some of them treated him simply as a “war-time prime minister”. In terms of the abovementioned facts, a formula of the successful power and influence can be invented: strictness to some extent, sincere intentions, kind and equal attitude towards people. All these three features were present in all the figures discussed in the research paper.
All in all, the power is highly alluring, but one has to realize what an immense responsibility is laid upon the person who aims at having some power. To end up, it is essential to say that people have to use their power and influence with their heart, soul and mind. Use it, but do not abuse it!