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Advantages of being left-handed

We often end up complaining about the frustrations of being left-handed, but there are plenty of advantages as well.

Here is a list that has been reported in various places recently – we have done features on most of these items before but it is nice to put them all in one place.   It would be great to make this list longer as well!   If you can think of any other advantages of being left-handed and, ideally, can provide some sort of research results or reporting to back it up, please add a comment below and we will expand the list.

10 Proven Benefits of Being Left-Handed

With only about 10% of the population being left handed, lefties are a serious minority. While they’ve endured a serious amount of prejudice (the word for left in almost every language has a less than positive connotation) and even aggression over the years, today, many left handed people are proud of their unusual handedness. And why not? After all, they have to survive and thrive in a world designed for those who are right handed. The next time someone teases you about your left handedness, bring up one of these facts that show that being left handed just might be a genetic blessing after all, offering you bigger and better abilities that can help you do everything from get a degree to kick butt at video games.

Here are the Top 10 advantages of being left-handed and also a few extras we have added from LHC member comments…

  1. Being left handed is an advantage in many sports. You might just come out ahead in athletics if you’re a lefty. Since most players are right handed, many are unused to dealing with those who are left handed. Take baseball for instance. Southpaws have the advantage of already facing first base when they’re at bat, can more easily keep an eye on first base when pitching and can cover a large amount of the field when playing in the outfield by having their glove in their right hand. There are specially designed left-handed baseball gloves available (worn on the right hand so you can throw left-handed). Other sports that offer an advantage to lefties are fencing, boxing and tennis.
  2.  Lefties have a greater chance of being a genius- or having a high IQ. Researchers aren’t sure why, but those who are left handed seem to make up a disproportionately large part of those who are highly intelligent. For example, twenty percent of all Mensa members are left-handed. When you consider that less than 10 percent of the total population is left handed, this makes for a lot of smart lefties. Some think this genius stems from being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing these individuals to more easily process a large amount of information.
  3. Left handed men may make more money. All that genius has to lead to something, right? According to studies, left handed males who have gone to college earn 13 percent more than their right handed counterparts. The causes of this difference are unknown, but the gap is statistically significant enough that its not a simple anomaly. Oddly enough, however, the results are quite different for women, with lefties earning 5% less than women who are right handed.
  4. Left handed people adjust more easily to seeing underwater. Bizarre as it may sound, one of the benefits of being left handed is being able to adjust more easily to see the world around you when you’re underwater. While you may not need this ability very often, it could come in handy if you live by the sea or enjoy swimming. While it’s not quite clear why this is so, scientists think it has something to do with a different part of the brain being dominant in left handed individuals.
  5. Lefties are better able to multitask. One of the advantages of being left-handed is that it forces your brain to think more quickly. What this means for everyday life is that those who are lefties may find it easier to multi-task and deal with a large, sometimes unorganized stream of information. Researchers found that conversations between the left and right sides of the brain happen more quickly in left handed people. The more dominant the left handedness is, the better these abilities are.
  6. Some left-handed individuals have better memories. While it isn’t true for all who are left handed, data from recent studies suggests that those who come from families of lefties tend to have better memories, though only of the episodic kind. The odd thing about this study, however, was that individuals didn’t necessarily need to be left-handed themselves to have a better memory- just come from a family of lefties. These studies show that traits related to handedness may be passed down separately, though some lefties would prefer to think that their left-handed benefits just rubbed off on their right-handed counterparts.
  7. Generally, lefties are better at playing video games. Some of the traits that make lefties better thinkers and multitaskers also make them better at playing video games. Research conducted by Dr. Nick Cherbuin shows that lefties are better at handing large amounts of stimuli, making them naturally better at killing zombies, playing virtual tennis or fighting off alien hordes in the virtual world.
  8. Left handed stroke victims recover faster than right handed stroke victims. While the reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, some believe it’s due to left handed people having to strengthen both sides of the brain when navigating a right handed world. Because many lefties are better able to use their non-dominant hand, it is easier for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain. Of course, recovery for those suffering from a stroke is never easy, no matter which is their dominant hand.
  9. Left-handed people are likely to be more visual than language-based, making them ideal for artistic pursuits. Research has shown that university students are more likely to major in visually-based, as opposed to language-based, subjects when they’re left handed. While another study — not comprehensive at only 103 students — showed that within the sample, 47% of art students were left- or mixed-handed. If you want to be an artist this is an amazing benefit, putting you in the likes of greats like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rembrandt.
  10. Southpaw drivers are more successful at learning to drive than right handed people. If driving came easy to you, it might have a good deal to do with your left-handedness. A driving school poll found that 57% of left handers passed their driving test first time compared with only 47% of right handers. This is pretty amazing, considering that most cars are designed with right handed individuals in mind
    Is this true in all countries, regardless of whether they drive on the left or on the right?

Here are some others to think about…

  • Be a faster typist- on a standard qwerty keyboard there are about 3400 words that can be typed solely with the left hand, compared to about 450 words typed solely with the right hand.
  • Less time in line. Studies show that most people veer to the right if there are multiple lines to choose from, but lefties tend to choose the line on their dominant side. A Disney World guidebook states that visitors   will spend much less time in line for attractions if they choose the left-hand side when given an option.
  • Get to choose your seat at the dinner table. Everyone knows you can't sit next to a lefty, otherwise you'll get your elbow bumped. Smart southpaws use this to their advantage to get a spot with more space. Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well at a circular table.
  • Have an easier time writing in Hebrew. Many Arabic languages, including Hebrew are written from right to left. This alleviates the problem that lefties have when writing.

Let us know what you think about these   and add any more advantages you can think of by adding a comment below.

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481 comments on “Advantages of being left-handed
  1. alaa says:

    hallow all
    this is dr alaa , iam lefty and i studied medicine , i used to draw since i was a kid , i stil have the ability to draw , i am addicted to vediogames and i like peing a pilot ?!
    is that has any relation to the spatial inteligence left handed have?
    my concearns is regarding to shifting my career from being a doctor to somthing else i have a believe that iam gifted in , like flying , drawing , movies macking , iam not sure yet ,, but can this website guide me/ assist me through self discovery ???/
    your help and comments pls

  2. M.G says:

    Hi! I am a 58 year old nurse who does everything left handed. I never really pay attention to if people are left handed or right handed although people always point my left handed ness out to me. I am not creative or artistic .I am definitely visual. I have always felt like my brain works differently. I am terrible at keyboarding and with a new electronic health record being introduce at my job I feel I am at a great disadvantage . I am plannining on looking into a app or a online course to improve my skills. Does anyone else have diffficulty typing?

  3. Omar says:

    im a left handed and for some bizzare reason i see so many things in different angles and i analize things way too much , and im kinda of a weirdo

  4. Chitra Sunil Abhyankar says:

    Hi, I am a right hand writer and I want to develop the skill of writing with my left hand as well. I am a graphologist and understand the importance of a brain being used to it’s full capacity by activating it with the use of both the hands.

  5. Ravi Chaurasiya says:

    It’s all about me. I am a student and best at Maths & Science. My way of thinking is töò different.

  6. Candice Kaushas says:

    I’ve always noticed mathematics come very easy for me even when I was age 3 i was able to do Algebra without being taught. I’ve noticed many many great traits i have& my father had; we both cld speak telepathically w each unlike my siblings who are right handed; but. I do admit i did have a hard time in early elementary school w certain teachers who wld tell me I was evil for being left handed which i didn’t understand til later what they meant, but oh well it’s life!

  7. wilson says:

    i do write with my book inverted… is it because am lefty? how can that be explained pls

  8. Sebastian says:

    I do swimming and I think we lefties can see underwater a lot better. I also play cricket and enjoy it very much! Aaaaand I’m not bad at video games….

  9. Alexandros Kontos says:

    Being a lefty soldier, ( and lefty eyed, since eye dominance reallyy matters in the marines) I was much better at combat due to the element of surprise, and, it was much harder for my heart to get hit. I’m sure other vets will get me.

    • Carolyn Hodges says:

      First time handed a rifle at age 9, it automatically went to my left shoulder. Now, 65 years later, with left eye problem, cannot learn to shoot right side.

  10. Mike portanova says:

    I think we are better at video games because the player we are controling is easier because our thumb is lefty and easier to move and all we have to do is tap the buttons…so if we play sports game much better advantage to us to move faster

  11. Steve Jobs says:

    I’m a typical lefty.
    From South(No Jokes) Africa,
    I passed my drivers test first time round.
    I’m a programmer who studied Information Technology.
    I love to draw and I love to play guitar… Only wish it was easier to find left handed guitars… (Yes, they exist)
    My one co-worker who started before me saw my payslip while my back was turned and complained to our boss…
    I play A LOT of Video Games.
    Don’t know about the seeing underwater part, but as for the multitasking part… I’m watching Family Guy while writing this, apparently Mort’s Pharmacy is going broke, more tragic cause he’s Jewish apparently. No Peter, opening and closing the cash register multiple times is not helping.

    Finally… What does James Bond say right before he receives a poison dart pen?

    Hi Q. (Get it? IQ… Hi Q… :-D, you didn’t get… Sigh…)

  12. Paul McDavitt says:

    I am left handed, male, 62, white, retired police officer. I taught myself to write backwards at a very young age, and when I was a young man in the military would write letters home to “mom and dad” backwards – on both sides of the paper – so there was no way to hold it up and read it through the paper (just to be a pain). I’ve checked with other lefties through the years and some of them can do that, too. Never found a rightie that could do it, though…
    My mother complained bitterly about my orneriness, but she always said my handwriting (which was very good), was just as good backward as forward.
    I always wondered if that was only because I am left-handed or whether I am just wired differently…

  13. patricia Dhane says:

    I am left handed.When I was in first grade my teacher tried to break me from writing with my left hand.She popped me on the top of my hand and said I would write right hand.Needless to say she got in trouble for doing this to me.

  14. Betty Halstead Lacy says:

    I’m a lefty and very much a either hand person. I’m a member of Mensa and can write upside down, backwards etc..writing with both hands at the same time. Also lefties notice lefty people at once. I can do many things at once and strive for more. I’m proud to be lefty.

  15. Lucy Fukushima says:

    Asian languages are written the same as Hebrew and many of the Arabic languages with a variation. Most are written right to left but vertically, not horizontally. I believe these languages and the associated alphabet were created by left-handed individuals. In fact, the ancient Hebrew alphabet and Japanese alphabet are written the same and have the same sound. Even more interesting is the alphabet ‘fu’. In Japan, ‘fu’ was changed from ‘hu’ in the 1887 under the Hepburn romanization system under James Curtis Hepburn. So, the Jewish ‘hu’ was changed before the 1887, who knows when, thousands of years ago? And now, they’re the same again.

    • molod says:

      i am really astonished !!!
      you are pointing to something that i always think about

      i am an arab and i am a righty, anyway
      i was always outstanding in school above all righties and lefties
      there was just one student who was extremly clever and unbeatable at school he was righty ofc

      but i always thought that i was the best gifted student when it comes to languages
      i like to analyse languages since i was a child and compare them, find relations between them , similarities and strange thoughts comes to me

      recently i started watching japanese manga,,,,awesome
      which meabs that i started to speak some japnese without realising it
      but what did mke me freaked out are some similarities between jnese and semitic languages like arabic
      my mother tong

      that s really wierd
      Language is related to geography ,,,, that s the wy i think
      but japan and. the middle east are very far

  16. Paul Globus says:

    This is good but you are forgetting a big lefty advantage, at least in North America and wherever else the driver sits on the left side of the car. I am referring to highway or bridge toll booths that require the driver to toss coins into a hopper or put them into a slot. This can be difficult for right-handers but us for us lefties, it’s a breeze.

  17. Joe Musick says:

    I’m left-handed and a member of Mensa, very rare. I discovered a long time ago that lefties can do much more with their right hand than a righty can do with their left. Mainly because we’re forced to use our right, where very few things are required to do with your left. That doesn’t make us ambidextrous but just through practice we can achieve that task.

  18. Gilda Haber, PhD says:

    As a social psychologist with a left-handed (former) huband and a left-handed son, when I ask a left-hander if anyone in their family is left-handed, it is very often a left-handed uncle. Further, I notice that you can tell a left=hander often, because he handles micro-movements with the left hand, macro with the right. i.e. aleft handed man will pull his wallet out with his right hand, but count money (which is smaller and perhaps more important) with his left. My data may be skewed, since I mingle and especially eat largely with Jewish people, whom I suspect, but have not proven, have more left-handed people among them. Perhaps Jewish people tolerate left-handedness more than Christians and Muslims. I believe the latter use the left only to clean their privates. Among Americans, left handers usually wear their watch on the right hand, but among Israeli Jews, left-handers wear their watches like the rest of us on t heir right, the reason probably because Hebrew (and Arabic) are written from right to left, so the left-handed writer of Hebrew does not cover his writing as does the English or European writer. The latter often curve their hand over the writing so as to be able to see what they have written.
    Religious Jews who are left handed have a special set of laws for the performance of religious observances. I note that many artists and actors are left-handed. My left-handed son is artistic. I have to check whether any of his nephews are left-handed. To be continued.

    • Gilda Haber, PhD says:

      Correction. I meant to say that Israeli left handers usually wear their watches on their left hand like Americans, since writing from right to left, their left hand does not obscure what they have written.

  19. Lara says:

    I absolutely love being left handed! I think it makes us unique. And sports are always so much fun, when it’s your turn to bat and the other team groan “oh it’s a leftie! quick pitchers, get to the other side!” Generally being left handed fills me with pride. Go southpaws!

  20. Ellie says:

    This is so true, I’m a lefty and this is always what happens and I always end up bumping people with my elbows when eating that’s why we’ve ditched to dining room! Although I come from a family of righties I have really good memory!!!

  21. Tasneem says:

    I am left handed. my hand writing is charming. my drawing is also good,although I have no academic lessons about drawing.from my childhood, some people always spoke negative about my leftism, some were admired.I faced many difficulties as I am lefthanded.most of the time when I write&my classmate sits at my left side.now I am studying at university of dhaka.my midterm exam holds at a exam hall where all the desks are at right side screwed with the chairs.I am facing a great problem but no one here to care it because I am the only left handed student in my class.I feel always proud to be a lefthanded but sometimes I am frustrated because of having troubles

  22. Donna says:

    I am left handed. You sit on the person’s left eating then will not bump and tying shoes if watch is backwards from right handers if watch.

  23. DUNCAN TREVOR says:

    I grew up knowing i was right handed but it felt weird when writing since it was like i was doing it opposite..but when i hold a pen in my left hand..it felt right..After finding it strange i asked my mum about it and told me that she forced me to be right handed when i was young…Thanks to her im now AMBIDEXTROUS…

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Advantages of being left-handed"
  1. […] Doors are made for the right hand. Simple household items like scissors and can openers are made for the right hand. Even writing in English is worse for lefties (but at least they can write in Hebrew). […]

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