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Jeruba's avatar

What do you do that makes you feel competent, capable, powerful?

Asked by Jeruba (55597points) July 3rd, 2011

Does anything special give you that feeling—that wonderful, chest-swelling feeling of I can!—or can you get it just from ordinary things?

Sometimes I get it from meeting a real challenge, doing something new, something I was nervous about trying, something I wasn’t sure I could handle.

But sometimes it’s just a passing moment, an instantaneous awareness of “I can do this!” that comes from everyday things. I can drive a car, shop for groceries, pay for them, cook a meal.

It’s great to experience that moment of recognition of your own capabilities and strengths—feel your muscles, as it were—and not take them for granted.

What gives you that feeling?

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29 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Writing endless successions of perfect iambs, for starters.
Growing a tomato plant from a seed and harvesting a tomato.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Start fire by rubbing sticks together. Make rope out of found plant materials. Plant a garden that is more productive per square foot than any industrial monocrop (if only I had more space for it!). Sleep outside in 10 degree weather with no tent and no fire and be warm. Etc.

Kardamom's avatar

I often get great feelings of satisfaction from cooking a well recieved meal or dish, or from taking a fabulous photo or from making a great drawing. I’ve never been one to ever feel feelings of being powerful. Even when I know, intellectually that I may have some sort of power over someone, or something. For me, feeling competent is a great reward for me, but I never get feelings of being powerful (even though sometimes I might be). I guess I just don’t look at it that way, or experience it that way.

I guess that is why I never get road rage. Even though I spend a lot of time in horrible traffic.

TexasDude's avatar


Or alternatively, writing poetry or doing some kind of antique restoration project, or art project.
Watching a newbie learn guitar rapidly under my instruction has the same effect as well.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I take care of myself, don’t need anyone else’s money for my basics and I’m able to help my mother.

Mariah's avatar

Doing a really beastly math problem. Getting positive comments from the professor on tests. Feeling proud of something I’ve drawn. Keeping my head held high when I feel like shit. Handling getting myself to a hospital alone by cab at college. Beating boys at video games. :P

WasCy's avatar

I can form and hold an opinion based on facts and logic. If necessary, I can change that, but seldom under duress.

I can learn new things and synthesize that with what I already knew and develop new knowledge. I can improvise.

I can design the hell out of a spreadsheet, and do a fair job with a database.

I can read, and I can write; I can also spell. I can use semicolons as conjunctions and as list separators, and I know when to do which. I can analyze real things, and words in sentences. I can usually tell what was meant as well as I can read what was really said.

I can tell jokes (good ones, too, sometimes) when the chips are down, flying around or stolen.

I can be patient like you read about.

I can also make snap decisions and not look back. I can organize and manage a youth soccer league of over 1200 kids and coach two separate teams (as long as they don’t have to play each other).

I can raise wonderful children.

I can get along. If need be I could kill.

I can find my own way out.

I’m thinking I should update my résumé.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Also, I haven’t used credit for over a decade. It’s a wonderful feeling to know when I shop then that’s it- point of sale- done! I feel powerful to be able work as much as I do in order to afford things important to me like taking care of repairs, a vacation, holiday gifts.

Mariah's avatar

Oh, and purposefully pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try new things!

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure I have ever felt that feeling. I can do a lot of things—things that people admire me for, but they do not bring me that feeling. I may have had a fleeting feeling like that here and there, but I can’t remember what brought that on. You would think I would remember if I really had it, wouldn’t you?

Actually, I do feel somewhat powerful during some phone conversations when I can tell a story that makes the person on the other end of the line suspend disbelief and actually feel like they are in the situation I describe. That’s kinda cool.

Kardamom's avatar

@wundayatta Have you ever volunteered to do story telling at the library? They can use people like you for that! Or even voice overs!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

On a personal level, running a 9-ball rack and walking the dog.

On a professional level, seeing my artwork published or hanging somewhere I didn’t know about.

SuperMouse's avatar

Having the courage to get out of a horribly dysfunctional marriage made me feel strong. Making it as a single mom and watching my kids thrive did as
well. Now everytime my
husband and I fight our way
through another of life’s (read
ex-husband’s) curve balls I feel
stronger and more capable.

Cruiser's avatar

I just bought the business I have worked for 14 years and the fact that the old owner picked me to take over was a very proud and powerful moment in my life. Plus seeing that banks and Lloyds of London also underwrote me in this deal too was heady stuff for humble Cruiser.

Jeruba's avatar

Congratulations, @Cruiser!

Kardamom's avatar

@Cruiser Good for you sir! What kind of business is it?

linguaphile's avatar

@Cruiser, CONGRATS!! It must feel heady to stand in Lloyd’s of London, just knowing the magnitude and history of the company.

What makes me feel competent is finishing projects that take a lot of time, having it glow with goodness and just seeing the result. A project may be a tactile thing, a theater thing, or… a person :)

Cruiser's avatar

Thanks all!! It’s an epoxy manufacturing company….we custom formulate glue goo! lol!

wundayatta's avatar

@Kardamom My stories aren’t exactly suitable for children. Think Spaulding Gray with Augustlan’s whip.

Kardamom's avatar

@Cruiser My Dad would be all excited to hear that. He’s always mixing up epoxy on those metal lids that come off of the frozen orange juice cans and gluing stuff for my nephew.

@wundayatta Oh My! : – )

Cruiser's avatar

@Kardamom I use plastic lids from just about any container to mix my stuff in! You dad would love some of the stuff we make!

augustlan's avatar

Using power tools gets me, every time. I’m like that guy on Home Improvement, grunting with the feeling of more power! There is nothing quite like building or fixing something, especially for this woman who used to be scared to death to even use those tools.

ucme's avatar

Raising my kids, which, together with the wife, has resulted in two mighty fine individuals.

bunnygrl's avatar

Being able to pull on a jacket and go outside when I have to. I’ve gone from being agoraphobic and suffering dreadful panic attacks for several years which kept me a prisoner at home to having been able to hold down a (albeit part time) job for the past five years. I never use the lift at work, in spite of being nagged by co-workers, I might need a cane but I also have legs, and there are only two flights of stairs, or one floor. I firmly believe in “use it or lose it.”

Seeing a wash hanging on the line even though the arthritis might be kicking my butt that day. I might have had to stop every few minutes and might be loaded up on pain meds but I did that. I did my wash and hung it out, then I’ll rest for a while and make dinner too. I’m still the housewife I love being, and don’t let things stop me.

I don’t ever feel powerful though. I manage. I cope. I get by. I survive. It’s not much of a life but its so much better than the one I had when I was ill and I am so grateful for the things I am able to acheive, even though they might seem like nothing to anyone else.
huggles honeys xx
ps @Cruiser Well done!! Congratulations, I’m totally chuffed for you <hugs> xx

mattbrowne's avatar

Lifelong learning and focusing on my less-developed strengths instead of investing too much time in reducing my weaknesses.

Cruiser's avatar

Thanks @bunnygrl! Appreciate that a lot!

Schroedes13's avatar

One of the activities that makes me the most competent/capable is when people compliment my photography. As many photographer knows, sometimes photographs look mediocre or sometimes downright bad to you just because of your critical perception of your abilities. However, many others will love it and compliment you.

As for most powerful, I just like dominating people in sporting events. It’s a lot of fun!

Aster's avatar

Finding obscure, relatively unknown cures , using them on people who trust me and watching them work. Then having a psychic tell me I’m a healer. I know it’s weird but it makes me feel great.
@Cruiser I’m so proud of you. I expect these kinds of successes from you and wish you many more in the future in many and diverse endeavors.

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