Power is a relative concept. There are quite a lot of people in the world that can be termed "powerful", but if you ask ten different people on the street who are the personalities that they consider powerful, you'll get ten different sets of answers.
Quite frankly, power exists in many forms, and all are valid. Most people immediately equate money with power, but while seemingly similar, the two are actually quite different. Wealth just buys things. Power makes things happen.
Power, in and of itself, is not evil. Despite the many misconceptions of the general public and the hype of mass media, there's nothing corrupting or dark about wanting to become powerful. Power, in any and all of it's various forms, is simply a tool, and it's how you use that power that determines whether it's beneficient or malevolent.
If you want to become a powerful person, first you have to ask yourself a simple question. What form do you want the power to take? Unless you have a focused vision of what you want, you'll never be able to make it happen.
Look at the people in the world that you consider "powerful" and ask youself what factors they have in common. Does their power come from having vast resources and people at their beck and call?
Or perhaps they're the charismatic types, who are able to make people do what they want on a consistent basis. Or perhaps you're after a more personal form of power, like possessing superb skills in a chosen field, craft, or art.
Whatever the case, you have to choose what kind of power you're after first. Wanting to have it all is a natural reaction. Everyone wants to be rich, smart, stong, fast, tough, good looking, and have a lot of social influence. Okay, reality check here. Focus on one thing at a time or you'll never get any of the above at all.
A good way to determine what kind of power will suit you is to know yourself. Study yourself with brutal honesty, and know your personal strengths, weaknessess, your likes and dislikes. Try to find a path that will capitalize on your strengths.
If you're born with the gift of gab but have lousy business sense, for example, don't aspire to swinging big business deals. You may be more suited for politics, or as a community leader whose main role is to inspire the people around him to achieve their best. Don't dabble in things where you stink, just stick to what you're good at.
Once you know what kind of power you want to achieve, the next step is to plan on how to get it. The planning and implementation stages are entirely up to you, however. No amount of advice will ever help you come up with a plan that's right for you. You have to work out the details for yourself, and make them happen.
There are, however, a few common traits to all powerful individuals that you should keep in mind during both planning and implementation:
Knowledge is the key to power. Whatever your chosen path to power, you need information on it. Zeal and passion are NEVER enough. If wanting and wishes were sufficient to make things happen, the world would be full of "perfect" people. Do your research.
Find out how other powerful people made their way, and either emulate their methods or modify them to suit your situation. Before jumping into any action, know the environment, know the variables involved, the possible scenarios and outcomes. Make contingency plans for each. Research and study up on everything related to what you want to achieve.
Discipline and Patience
These two go hand in hand. Hard work requires discipline, and becoming powerful IS hard work, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. While there are a few lucky people out there born with natural gifts and inheritors of vast wealth, the majority of us have to earn our way up. Patience is also a prerequisite to power.
Overnight successes are prone to becoming overnight flash in the pans, too. If you want power that will last, be prepared to wait for it. Snipers and hunters are an excellent analogy for patience: they will wait literally motionless for hours on end for their targets, and they know that an impatient rifleman will miss his shots, every single time.
Drive and Effort
While it was stated earlier that wanting something is not enough to achieve it, it nonetheless helps. Passion does not convey skill, but what it does do is fuel the will and spirit to keep moving forward and striving no matter what is in your way. Setbacks and disappointments are inevitable; passion allows you to overcome them and ultimately achieve your goals.