The Left-Handed Advantage

Sheer Frustration
The Number Pad is always on the Right side of the Keyboard

Our struggles are real! Us lefties have struggled mightily in this world. But you don’t ever hear us complain — and, no, this blog doesn’t count.

Actually, for all of the struggles we’ve endured, being a lefty also means being able to hold our heads high. It appears that because of our ‘uniqueness’ we actually have some pretty cool performance and biological advantages:

  • Being good at directions. A study in the journal Cortex noted that lefties typically make fewer mistakes in spatial orientation tests. We are typically able to find our way around a bit better.
  • Left handed people can typically type faster.  Some of the most used letters (A, S, E, R, T) are on the left side of the keyboard.
  • You might even recover from a stroke more easily as it has been shown that lefties spread out their cognitive functions more uniformly throughout both brain hemispheres, thus limiting the actual amount of damage to any particular brain function.
  • Lefties can have a decided advantage in certain sports — tennis, boxing, hockey, fencing come to mind. Those poor righties don’t have as much practice against left-handed opponents.

Take a look at a list of current and historical high-achieving lefties:

Bobby Orr
  • Aristotle
  • Marie Curie
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Michelangelo
  • Bobby Orr
  • Glenn Gould
  • James Cameron
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Barack Obama
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Lady Gaga
  • Helen Keller
  • Paul McCartney
  • Bill Gates
  • Babe Ruth
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Chewbacca (from Star Wars fame); I have no idea if this is true, but I saw it somewhere and I’m printing it

There are many more examples of extraordinary people who were left-handed but you get the idea. We have a really good team.

Being right-handed doesn’t always have the advantage

And if all of THAT doesn’t impress you here’s one final advantage …

The tradition of greeting someone by shaking with one’s right hand dates back centuries where it was believed to be a sign of peacefulness. By extending one’s right hand you are showing that you are not approaching with anything that could harm the other person — unless of course you are left handed.

Just sayin’.

8 thoughts on “The Left-Handed Advantage

  1. As a forcibly converted leftie, I find life really interesting. Many things, I can do with either hand, depending on convenience, some things I can’t coordinate well with either hand and some things are very specifically one hand or the other. ps. good to see you this morning.

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  2. I concur! When I was about 16, my lefty mother and I got to participate in a university study that looked at language functions in leftys’ brains to determine possible advantages after a stroke – possibly part of the same one you referred to. Also, coming from a long line of proud lefties (we outnumber the righties in my immediate family by 6-2), I’m glad to hear Chewbacca’s bats for our team!

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    • I read the Chewbacca thing some where, but can’t remember the exact location — doesn’t really matter as I wanted him on our team anyways. Three of 4 of us in my own immediate family are all lefties as well. 🙂

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  3. Hey Dave. This post is great. As a “rightie” I never realized until now how much discrimination you’ve faced and how truly amazing you aren’t overcoming the “right normative” world. Lol

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  4. Similar to many of challenges people with physical disabilities face every day. As with “lefties,” being forced to adapt to tools that are not designed for them, people with disabilities face a myriad of challenges in the built environment, even in new construction built “to code.” It is a burden that nearly 1 in 5 of Canadians face every day.

    Thank you for sharing. To many it may seem trivial, but it can have a significant impact on many people. The more we communicate and educate on these issues, the better understanding we have on their impact on everyone in our community,and the better we can design so that “accommodations” are not needed.

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