As today’s twenty-somethings struggle to finance their education or find jobs, Rosa Hyman of PolicyMic took a look at how current world leaders pent their formative years for inspirational examples of perseverance.

Here is what she found:

5. Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel

Netanyahu joined the Israeli military before he even turned 20, serving in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite unit. He participated in several notable operations, including “Operation Isotope,” the 1972 rescue of a hijacked passenger jet. Netanyahu spent the rest of his early 20s in the United States, studying architecture and business administration at MIT.

Wild fact: Before he turned 30, Bibi had already joined (and left) the Israeli special forces, and had participated in numerous commando operations, including leading one raid deep into Syria.

2. Vladimir Putin, president of Russia

Putin aspired to work in intelligence before he even finished college. After earning a degree in the law department at Leningrad State University, he went to work in the state security agencies. There he worked first as the directorate secretariat, next in the counterintelligence division, and then in operations personnel retraining courses. Once he began working in the counterintelligence division, foreign intelligence officers began to notice him. Putin spent over a decade working as an intelligence officer after he finished college — it’s no surprise, really, that the “Chuck Norris of international politics” bypassed his aimless, self-doubting 20-something years.

Wild fact: Putin’s early history is a bit secretive. Of course. It’s reported, though, that while at university he spent his free time training in judo. Of course.

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