15 Things You Never Knew About Left-Handed People
Only 10 percent of the population is left-handed. While there may not be many of them, being left-handed sure does come with some surprising perks!
Being a lefty may help you succeed in leadership roles
“When I was at Columbia Law School, which is one of the most elite schools in the country, we noticed that a large proportion of the class was left-handed,” says Robert S. Herbst a left-handed attorney, wellness expert, motivational speaker, and powerlifter. “This made sense as left-handed people are right brained meaning they are more creative, analytical, verbal, and have better language skills, all of which are traits necessary to being a good lawyer.” Herbst was also an Eagle Scout: “I have met a number of left-handed Eagle Scouts, including Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York City mayor. Perhaps being right brained and left-handed also gave us the leadership ability, discipline, and ambition to excel even at an early age.” It could very well be that being a lefty helps you succeed and these 25 famous left-handed people are proof of that.
Lefties often learn to be ambidextrous
“Over the years I have found myself learning to be ambidextrous simply because I had to,” says Ernestine Sclafani, a public relations specialist in Los Angeles. “The world is geared towards being right-handed: buttons on jackets, jeans, doorways, desks in school.” Certain activities also were made easier by switching the hands. “Learning to play golf was much easier being a right-handed person than left,” she says. Today, there’s more awareness of lefties and more products and activities that accommodate them. But being ambidextrous is certainly a good skill to have. Here is why lefties were retrained to use their right hand.
Left-handedness lets you stand out
“I remember back in high school a friend had told me that being a lefty was going to be made into a handicap,” says Danielle Becker, a mixed media artist and the founder of Leftys Right Mind. “Besides being the only one in class with the side of their hand completely covered in pencil, I never felt being a lefty inhibited me from excelling in my work, let alone hold me back in life. In fact, I believe it sets me apart from the rest. I cherish the fact that I am a lefty. My left hand has guided me over the years to find my passion and to be able to live my dream as a professional designer.” She credits her creativity—her work as an artist—to being a lefty. “I thrive in the creative world. My wide array of talents across multiple platforms is rooted in (lefty) hands-on art making and a commitment to unbound creativity.” Look out for these 10 hidden dangers of being left-handed.
It’s a great conversation starter
“I’m a lefty and find that, strangely, people often notice,” says Ingrid Hansen, a publicist at Launch Media. “It’s a great conversation starter when they do.” Also, she finds that many lefties are introverted, which actually led her to her career. “As an introvert, I’ve created a successful company that coaches other introverts, including lefties, on speaking to the media.”
While it’s not always easy, the challenges can make you stronger
“While I cherish my creativity, I do find it difficult to live in a right-handed world,” says Kim Murphy, a left-handed author in Batesville, Virginia. “For instance, when I go to the library for research, there are rarely any computers set up for lefties. Garden equipment, such as weed whackers, can be downright dangerous for me to use. Still, I love being different.” Having to overcome obstacles, and always challenging yourself, ultimately makes you a stronger person. She, too, credits her left-handedness to her creative spirit. “Because I’m an author, I have met many authors and artists over the years and a higher percentage of the artists I have met are left-handed.” Here are some more advantages of being left-handed.
Lefties aren’t necessarily more likely to think outside the box
According to the American Psychological Association, 10 percent of the population is left-handed. One study in the Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease musicians, painters and writers were significantly more likely to be left-handed. However, a conflicting study of more than 1,000 people debunked the myth that “right-brained” people are more creative than “left-brained” people. It found that no one has a dominant side of the brain and both sides are involved in creativity. Don’t miss these other myths about lefties that we all need to stop believing.
You are in good company with these left-handed presidents
There have been eight presidents who have been lefties, including James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
You’re likely to find lefties in your extended family tree
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, multiple factors including genetics, environment, and chance determine whether a person is left-handed. It was initially thought that a single gene controlled handedness, however recent studies suggest that multiple genes, perhaps up to 40, contribute to this trait. Each of these genes likely has a weak effect by itself, but together they play a significant role in establishing hand preference. However, because the overall chance of being left-handed is relatively low, most children of left-handed parents are right-handed (even though there’s a greater chance that left-handed parents have left-handed kids). If you look far enough in your family tree, you may be surprised to find a number of lefties there. Check out these other quirky traits you didn’t know you inherited.
You have a decreased risk for some health concerns
In a study published in Laterality, it was found that left-handed people have a lower prevalence of arthritis and ulcers. It probably doesn’t have to do with your handedness, though. Researchers believe it’s related to the underlying DNA that creates left-handedness––the genes that are associated with lefties. So if you’re ever teased for being a lefty, remind yourself that they have a higher chance of developing those painful conditions. You should also try out one of these quirky inventions made for lefties.
You’re a better GPS
Do you or your left-handed friends have a knack for reading maps, remembering parking spaces, and figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B? According to a classic study, researchers observed that left-handed people showed a lower rate of error in a spatial orientation test than righties. Spatial skills will always be important (yes, even in the age of the GPS)––you never know when you and your right-handed counterparts will get lost in the woods and you’ll be able to save the day. Here are the 20 worst products for left-handed people.