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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.

  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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448 comments on “Advantages of being left-handed
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Neil Weightman says:

    I am a lefty and playing tennis has always been nature for me. This as well as drawing and driving a car. Overall I feel I am naturally more practical and creative in my mindset and I do attribute this towards my
    I am not sure, but I find that I seem to be very self-reliant and do not necessarily need the company of others to make me happy. I tend to think a bit more just on normal life situations than maybe I should…I’ve heard that this is a normal trait in left-handed people.

  5. Andrew Blackamore says:

    I’m left hand but I sometime write right-hand without thinking and my hand writing looks different. One day in school the teacher walked over to me and asked “are you left or right handed?” I was a little puzzled and said “Left” The teacher looked a little puzzled as my pen was in my right hand “Your writing with your right hand, I thought someone was doing your homework … ” I carried on LEFT HAND.

  6. David says:

    Well I was born left handed but mom wouldn’t allow it. So I became right handed. However at football I kicked with my left foot and was always placed on the left side of the field.

  7. Jane says:

    I am a 65 year old left-handed woman. I grew up in a time that I felt very ostracized for not being right-handed. In grade school we had mostly right-handed desks and I recall 3rd grade vividly when my teacher told me to go to the janitor’s office and get a left-handed desk. I then had to push it down the hall to my classroom. Being a very shy child this only made me feel mortified as teachers from other classrooms would glare as I screeched by their doors! My older sister had a beautiful handwriting and I wrote in a typical cramped left-handed way so I would get pencil all over my hand and it was not pretty. I watched my sister and taught myself to hold my pencil and write the way she did only with my left-hand. The greatest moment was when my other asked me to address an RSVP to my cousin because I had a pretty handwriting! My parents as well as my two sisters are right-handed but my mother believed she may have been forced to write with her right hand. She had dyslexia and naturally tried to read a book from the back to the front. My husband and I both left-handed had 3 right-handed children. I now have 4 granddaughters, 3 of which are left-handed. The oldest is a high achiever and the second is extremely artistic and would like to think she took after Nanna and Grandfather in that respect. I am glad to read things that are encouraging about other left-handed people and knowing that many famous people that have accomplished great things have also been left-handed is inspirational. I hope my words have been helpful to other fellow lefties like myself! When all is said and done what makes a difference is who we are inside and not what hand we write with!

  8. Laurel says:

    I am a left handed person and I can do things with both hands I thought I was ambidextrous. After reading articles and theories I can agree on some of the things that they theorized with.

  9. Aaron says:

    My friend keeps making fun of me because I’m left handed and he didn’t believe any facts.

  10. Charles moore says:

    I’d be willing to betc that a left handed person invent the skill of writing in the biblical times

  11. Kent says:

    I remember I used to be a good student. I made good grades and understood a lot of what people said. Until I reached the 7th grade and understood too much. I thought it was cool and started doing drugs until I was 20. I’m diagnosed with schizophrenia at 18 because I tried to kill myself after doing so much drugs and drinking. I jumped off the high bleachers and had a collapsed lung and broken arm. Unfortunately, I was one of the lefties with schizo. It took me 5 tries to get my learner’s license but one try for my class c license. I’m on disability and can’t work for the rest of my life only living 800 dollars a month. Even though I know I can work and do more and educate myself the people around me don’t trust me to do so. I have a history of violence and anger toward people but learned to control myself and is much better now. Two people have told me I was going to die in my lifetime because I was a lefty. I never knew lefties died early until some kid told me in 6th grade. A girl turned to me college one time and said,”You’re going to die.” I said, “why do you think that.” And she said it’s because I’m a lefty. It happened on my first attempted at college about a year after I tried to kill myself. Her saying that made me so stressed I dropped out. People don’t understand we are the real celebrities in society. I think sometimes if I was taught better and more appreciated when I was younger, could have became a genius. Now I wait for my family’s trust because right now I believe I can do anything if it is taught to me…actually anyone can do anything if it is taught to them. Everyone on earth is equal and has the capacity to learn and be smart. That’s just me.

  12. Hailey says:

    My nams Hailey and im a lefty. I’ve realized that i do think about things differently than right handed people. And i feel a better connection with other lefties. Coincidentally the last 3 guys i’ve talked to were left handed too haha. At a basketball camp i met another lefty and her name was Hailey too! … Not sure how im a lefty because neither of my parents or grandparents were lefties and none of my siblings or cousins are either.

  13. Dr Billy Levin says:

    Ancient Hebrew was carved on stone like the original 10 Commandments at Sinai. Hence it is easier to chisel with right to the left, holding the hammer in the right hand and the chisel with the left, than to try and chisel with the right hand to the right side. As modern writing is language done with the left brain we tend to work from the left language brain to the right side. The brain feeds the opposite side. Left handed children confuse the letter b and d and reversal are common in lefties as they work from dominant right brain to left side.

  14. shreya says:

    ofcource I am a proud LEFTIE but I had a dout ie. if we see through evolutionary point its said that species throughout history have evolved getting better and stronger while the recessive traits of these species disappear leading successfully to a still better species. so my point is as 90% world is right handed but only 10% are we lefties so does that mean in coming decades there will be only righties left and no lefties????? also lefthandedness is a recessive trait so will it really disappear someday?? will nature really discard left handedness trait? am confused please tell me PLEASE…

  15. Diana says:

    As a Leftie I find that my greatest advantage is my ability to easily adapt and cope. Because I’ve had to adapt to this right-handed world in which we live, I also seem to find it easier to cope with unexpected situations when they occur. I’m in my 60’s now, and can look back and see many times as a child, teen, and adult when I’ve come up against a brick wall, given myself a mental shrug, and figured a way around the problem, person, issue, or whatever without a great deal of hullabaloo.

    Another benefit to being left-handed…when dining, we don’t have to switch our fork to the opposite hand in order to pick up our knife to cut food. This is not only more efficient, it is the Continental style of dining…considered to be a more graceful way to eat! I just consider it to be more “common-sensical”!

  16. The Lefty says:

    Im a lefty, and have noticed i am easily able to solve puzzles in video games. I completed portal 2 for my first time in just 4 hours, on and off.

  17. Jack Bryant says:

    I find another advantage is being to write while holding the paper sideways. It seems to be more logical to be a southpaw since I write from left to right and am able to see what is being written. I know a long time ago the teacher would attempt to force the lefty to use the right hand.

  18. Samari says:

    I’m a left handed guy and I know their many potential in me, so how can I tap from it, cos my academics have soffer a little and my results always bad yet I know I’m much better than that. So how can I unlock the hiding potentials and ability in me?

    • John Dean says:

      Studies show that you have a slightly better chance of being intelligent. Meaning, most lefties are average. You just have a slightly better chance of being smart, in comparison to a righty. You can’t unlock the potential. Sorry, friend. You’re just an average guy, like myself.

  19. Douglas Downey says:

    Lefty soldiers have a definite advantage in bayonet fighting. I discovered this when I was going through U.S. Army basic training in 1952;the instructor was a highly skilled survivor of the Bataan Death March. He used me as a demonstration dummy, and was surprised and embarrassed when I outmaneuvered him because he parried my attack in the wrong direction.

  20. Samuel Michalcewicz says:

    I’m a lefty and I’ve experienced a higher level of endurance in things like working out, long work periods without rest, and even walking long distances without anything to drink.

  21. S_Eye says:

    It seems to me that lefties always approach problem solving in a completely different way from righties; their approach usually confusing to righties. As a lefty, I think this stems from the process of thought that comes with right brain dominance. I find a convoluted method of dealing with tasks that are usually more time consuming than necessary.

    The interesting part is the reaction of righties vs lefties. A righty will listen to a solution I devise, and immediately criticize or shoot it down. Meanwhile, upon hearing the same plan, a left handed person will at the very least stop to play out the scenario in their head to see if they feel it works.

    It would seem that these two approaches play to the nature of the left and right brain. While right handers quickly do calculations and use past experience to solve a problem, left handers are more likely to take an out of the box approach, treating the situation as its own unique problem. Makes sense, I suppose, given the mathematical lean of the leg brain, and the abstract of the right

  22. Namdev Khot says:

    I am a Left handed. I have got very bad memories when i was a child. people used to shout at me couse i used to eat food by my left hand. my mother’s Aunt used to tight my left hand with the wire and hang it to the door. she forsed me to eat by right hand only. i was 9 year old. Gradually i was being eaten by right hand due to daily exercise. i felt very bad, even i never no what was my fault.

  23. Des says:

    I used to be left-handed because my mom used to discourage me to use my left especially when I write/draw. But still, I couldn’t stop myself using my left hand. So even the years passed using my right hand to write/draw, I still used my left hand with other activities I do like handling mobile phone, sweeping and handling spoon when eating.

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