Only ten per cent of the population is left-handed. While there may not be many of them, being left-handed sure does come with some surprising perks.“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.
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.”
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. “The single biggest benefit of being left-handed is that I am much more ambidextrous than the average right-hander,” says Phil Reames, owner of Reames Financial in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “I can pound nails with either hand. I was a switch hitter in baseball. About the only thing I can’t do well right-handed is write.”
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.”
Lefties are more like to think outside the box
According to the American Psychological Association, ten per cent of the population is left-handed. And according to a study in the Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease musicians, painters and writers were significantly more likely to be left-handed. Brain hemisphere specialist Michael Corballis, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, points out that just as information is prone to errors as it traverses between brain hemispheres, it’s also more likely to encounter novel solutions. Righties might dismiss an idea as too radical, but lefties might be able to develop a solution that a right-hander’s brain would skip right over. “It’s good to have a few people in any society who think outside the square.