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What World Leaders Did in Their 20s


PolicyMic recently ran a post about what world leaders like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin did before we knew their names. The bad news is, it wasn’t eating chips and watching TV.


(Photo Credit: Kelly DeLay/Flickr)

No, it turns out that the world’s leaders were a pretty impressive bunch right from the start. We even noticed that many of them had a few things in common:

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1. Some were destined for greatness…

Whether they were born to lead (Kim Jong-un, who inherited leadership of North Korea) or aspired to it from an early age (Vladimir Putin, who was reportedly always interested in working in intelligence), many leaders seemed to have a date with destiny from pretty early on.

2. …but they didn’t always act like it.

Barack Obama reportedly experimented with drugs in his youth; David Cameron belonged to the Bullington Dining Club, which was better known for hard drinking and pranks than dining.

3. Some lived humbly before becoming leaders.

Obama was a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago before enrolling in law school; Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, lived in a dug-out cave and learned “peasant virtues” in a remote village.

That being said, the most powerful people in every country probably have as many differences as they do similarities (as anyone who keeps up on current events will attest). So, if you’re a Gen Y worker who’s just staring out and you want to be a world leader, don’t let the differences between their experience and your CV dissuade you.

Tell Us What You Think

What were you doing (or are you doing) in your 20s, and how did it affect your career path? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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