By Sarah BarkleyPublished on January 18, 2022Last modified June 08, 2022
If you’re left-handed, you know the struggle that comes along with it. You also know the false assumptions and the negative mindset that sometimes surrounds being left-handed. However, right-handed people can learn some life lessons from left-handed people.
Left-handed people have to use things differently and often must compromise their comfort. However, these people don’t have it all bad, as they also experience quite a few benefits. There are many advantages to being left-handed, and right-handed people can learn from it.
Only around 11% of the population uses their left hand dominantly, causing misunderstanding. There are often stigmas and superstitions attached to being left-handed, and right-handed people like to boast that they have it easier. However, once they start learning things from left-handed people, they’ll quickly change their mindset.
Fifteen Surprising Facts to Know About Left-Handed People
Scientists haven’t narrowed down what causes left-handedness yet, but research does give some clues. Left-handed people seem to have different wiring in their brains, and they tend to have a particular set of personality traits. Learning things from lefties can help you understand them, and you’ll know all of the benefits associated with it.
1. Left-handed People Show Us How to Use the Whole Brain
Left-handers can use both sides of their brains quickly and efficiently. Studies show they have a faster connection between the hemispheres in their brain, leading to quicker information processing. The transfer time between each hemisphere was assessed to find that left-handed participants processed information quicker.
This advantage helps them in situations that require multi-tasking, hand-eye coordination, or quick thinking. It’s also why they often excel in things like video games.
2. How to Be a Better Multi-Tasker
Research data shows that left and right-handed people handle task and memory performance differently. The participants of this study were given two tasks to work on simultaneously, and in most instances, the lefties performed better.
One reason for lefties being better multi-taskers is because right-handed people tend to break their problems down. Then, they analyze each piece of the problem individually. However, left-handed people view the situation and try to solve it that way.
3. Left-handed People Explain How to Stand in Line for Less Time
You might wonder how being left-handed shortens someone’s time in line, but it makes sense once you know. Right-handed people tend to choose the queue on the right side if they have more than one to choose from. On the other hand, lefties often opt for the line on the left.
With lefties being the minority here, fewer people choose the line on the left. They end up in the shorter lines and get through them much quicker. Remember this life lesson the next time you’re standing in line so that you can choose the line on the left.
4. Left-handed People Can Type Better and Faster
When typing correctly with two hands, lefties have an advantage. Most of the words spelled out on a keyboard are on the left-hand side. Research shows that about 3,400 words are typed with the left hand, while only 450 come from the right side.
With so many words coming from the left side of the keyboard, it’s clear why left-handers have an advantage. They type a more significant number of words with their dominant hand, making them faster and better.
5. They Don’t Get Lost as Often
Left-handed people usually have better spatial skills, allowing for awareness of their surroundings. Not only are they aware of their surroundings, but they can see how they fit into them. They will more often remember where they parked and have an easier time reading a map.
6. They’re Better Drivers
Studies show that 57% of left-handed drivers pass their driving test on the first try. However, only 47% of right-handed drivers pass the test the first time around. These percentages don’t mean that lefties have advantages when learning to drive, though.
The study also revealed that most drivers believe being left-handed causes learning to drive more difficult. Participants also think that cars are designed with right-handed people in mind.
Another study produced results that showed that lefties were less likely to cause car accidents. While researchers are still looking for the reason, they believe that left-handed people pay closer attention.
7. People Often Vote for Left-Handers
You might be surprised to learn that many United States presidents were left-handers. The list includes the following:
- Barack Obama
- Bill Clinton
- George H.W. Bush
- Gerald Ford
- James Garfield
- Harry Truman
- Herbert Hoover
There’s also a belief that Ronald Reagan was a leftie, but strict teachers forced him to use his right hand. When he was a child, some people believed that left-handedness was a disability and forced children to switch. If this belief is true, it shows that you can teach yourself one way or the other, no matter how you started.
However, it’s likely all coincidence that such a high percentage of presidents were left-handers. Don’t try switching hands to get farther because either way is okay.
8. Lefties Own Their Uniqueness–and You Should, Too!
Left-handed people have a trait that sets them apart from others early on. It teaches them to cultivate a sense of uniqueness as soon as they start showing their dominant hand. Being left-handed also taught them that they don’t have to conform to societal standards.
9. They Are Better at Certain Sports
One way lefties have it better than right-handers is when playing certain sports. Left-handers can throw off the other players with their serve when playing tennis. Most people are used to the right-handed serve and will be caught off guard.
Boxers and baseball players have the same advantage as tennis players, catching their opponent off-guard with a different swing. Tennis, baseball, and boxing aren’t the only sports lefties excel at, either. Many professional athletes from differing sports are left-handed, including:
- Steve Young
- Rafael Nadal
- Martina Navratilova
- Bill Russell
- Babe Ruth
- Phil Mickelson
- Oscar de la Hoya
10. Left-handed People Can Show Us How to Be More Compassionate
Left-handers hear negative comments about their dexterity from an early age. Even when someone is joking, those comments stick with a person far into the future.
Because left-handers are used to being different, they become humble and compassionate. Their life-long need to practice flexibility and learn differently makes them more accepting. They are more accepting of differences in others and more open to people who disagree with them.
11. Being a Leftie Doesn’t Mean They’ll Earn Less
Don’t criticize a left-handed person for their agility or assume they’ll earn less money in their career. While it’s often viewed as a negative trait, left-handed has advantages.
Research shows that left-handed males with a college degree earn 15% more than their right-handed colleagues. However, the same study indicates that left-handed females earn around 5% less than their right-handed colleagues.
12. They Constantly Have to Practice Daily Tasks
Most objects are designed for right-handed people, making every task a little more complicated for a leftie. For instance, the binding in a notebook might get in the way when they write, a problem that right-handers don’t deal with.
Additionally, lefties have to buy expensive sports equipment that is sometimes hard to find, or they must learn to use right-handed equipment. Other things lefties have to practice flexibility for include using right-handed scissors, can openers, credit card readers, computer mouses, and so much more.
Their daily practice helps keep their mind sharp because they have to work a little more complicated. Plus, it helps the leftie stay alert and focused, knowing they’ll need to be ready. If you’re right-handed but want to reap the benefits of practicing daily tasks, consider doing a few things with your left hand each day.
13. They Excel in Creative and Visual Arts
Research shows that left-handers use both sides of the brain when dealing with language. Using both sides allow for more opportunity for creativity. They’re also better at divergent thinking, which is a way to generate ideas exploring many possible solutions.
A survey of more than 2,000 people found that left-handed people had artistic and musical advantages. They were also more drawn to careers in the arts.
14. They’re Good at Problem-Solving
Left-handers are so used to working harder to meet challenges that they become excellent problem solvers. They’ve had to overcome issues regularly throughout their life, sometimes daily. While struggling to get things done with right-handed equipment isn’t ideal, it does offer this benefit.
15. They’re Great at Math
Studies show that left-handed people are better at solving math problems. They scored between five and 10% higher on complex math tests than right-handed people did. One of the reasons they’re good at math is because they are problem solvers with abstract thoughts and spatial reasoning.
Final Thoughts on Life Lessons to Learn from Left-Handed People
The differences between right-handed and left-handed people are usually subtle. While the facts are interesting, you can excel at anything no matter which hand you use.
These life lessons are intended to help you understand that being left-handed isn’t weird, and it can be a good thing. However, being right-handed has its benefits, too. Either way, you can use this information to focus on specific areas of your life you’d like to improve.
A few studies have shown that left-handed people are more likely to have an IQ of 131 or higher. Coincidentally, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein were all lefties.What percentage of the world is left-handed 2023? ›
By The Numbers
12% – the percentage of the world that is left-handed.
Since left-handed people are right-brain dominant, it enables them to creative and intuitive. They have high levels of imagination. Since they use their right hemisphere of the brain more prominently, this makes left-handed people more analytical, creative, and verbal, and showcase better language skills.What advantage do left-handed people have? ›
Being left-handed also has its perks, including: Left-handed people are at an advantage in a wide range of sports, from fencing to boxing. The sporting advantage also includes taking the right-handed opponent by surprise, because right-handed athletes aren't used to playing against left-handed opponents.Why is being left-handed rare? ›
In fact, one of the more unusual hypotheses to explain the rarity of left-handedness is that a genetic mutation in our distant past caused the language centres of the human brain to shift to the left hemisphere, effectively causing right-handedness to dominate, Alasdair Wilkins explains for io9 back in 2011.How rare is a left-handed girl? ›
About 10 percent of the population is left-handed. The rest are right-handed, and there are also about 1 percent who are ambidextrous, which means they have no dominant hand. Not only are lefties outnumbered about 9 to 1 by righties, there are health risks that appear to be greater for left handers, too.Who is more likely to be left-handed? ›
In their analysis of 144 handedness and brain laterality studies—accounting for a total of nearly 1.8 million individuals—University of Oxford psychologists Marietta Papadatou-Pastou, PhD, and Maryanne Martin, PhD, found that males are about 2 percent more likely to be left-handed than females.Is left-handed genetic? ›
Left-handedness occurs in about 8% of the human population. It runs in families and an adoption study suggests a genetic rather than an environmental origin; however, monozygotic twins show substantial discordance.What state has the most left-handed people? ›
In fact, McManus writes, “The highest rates of left-handedness are in the north-east, in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, whereas the lowest rates are in the mid-West, in Wyoming and North Dakota.”Is there a day for left handers? ›
INTERNATIONAL LEFT HANDERS DAY | AUGUST 11
International Left Handers Day on August 13th recognizes all those individuals who have mastered using their left hand in a right-handed world.
McManus which found that the Netherlands has one of the world's highest prevalences of left-handedness at 13.23 percent. The United States isn't far behind with a rate of 13.1 percent while neighboring Canada has 12.8 percent. Elsewhere, rates of left-handedness are far lower and China is a good example.How much IQ does a left-handed person have? ›
Our confidence intervals at a 95% confidence level show that the average IQ for a left handed person is between 117.73 and 127.19 and for a right handed person it is between 109.9 and 123.5.Can you tell if someone is left-handed? ›
Take a look at their work desk. You should be able to spot the daily items such as notepad, pens, hole puncher and stapler, on his/her desk. A true blue lefty will definitely have these items set on the left side of the table for easy access.Am I born left-handed? ›
Special or not, lefties are born, not made: Genetics are at least partially responsible for handedness. Up until last year, it was assumed that hand preference comes from asymmetrical genes in the brain—two hands, two brain hemispheres, one is dominant.Do lefties have better memory? ›
For example, left handedness determined by grip strength has been shown to be associated with poorer cognitive function , whereas left handedness, via self-report, has been shown to be associated with better memory and attention task performance .What does it mean to be left-handed in the Bible? ›
First Chronicles 12:2 seems to reference bowmen who were ambidextrous. When the Bible refers to left-handed people, it speaks of left-handedness as an advantage, not a weakness. While it is not as honorable as sitting at someone's right hand, sitting at the left hand is still a position of honor.How are left-handed brains different? ›
Left-handedness was associated with differences in brain asymmetry in areas related to working memory, language, hand control and vision. Some of these brain areas were linked to specific genes. Scientists have long been fascinated by left-handedness.How rare is it to be born left-handed? ›
-Counting how many people are left-handed is more difficult than it looks, because of variations in preference and skill from task to task and because of left-handers having been forced to write with their right hand, but the best estimate we have is that roughly 10% of the world population is left-handed.What does being left-handed mean? ›
Left-handedness — sometimes called "sinistrality" — means you prefer to use your left hand rather than your right hand for routine activities, such as writing. Most people who have studied left-handedness believe that approximately 10 percent of the people in the world are left-handed.What presidents were left-handed? ›
- James A. ...
- Herbert Hoover (March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933) was known to be left-handed.
- Harry S. ...
- Gerald Ford (August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977) was left-handed.
- Ronald Reagan (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989) was naturally left-handed but wrote with his right hand.
On the flip side, lefties have some disadvantages too.
Some studies show that left-handed people showed an imbalance in processing emotions with their left and right hemispheres of their brain. Left-handed people have a higher risk of brain disorders like schizophrenia, dyslexia or hyperactivity disorders.
They observed that overall, children had a chance of 9.7 percent of being left-handed. However, parental handedness strongly influenced the chance of a child being left-handed. If both mother and father were right-handed, the chance of their offspring being left-handed was only 7 percent.Can 2 right-handed parents have a left-handed child? ›
If two parents are right-handed, their offspring has a 10% chance of being left-handed. However, if one or both parents are left-handed, the chance of their child being left-handed becomes higher at 18 to 22% and 27%, respectively.Do left-handed children learn differently? ›
5 But most left-handed people do not have any associated learning disabilities. Keep in mind that these findings are a matter of ongoing debate among scientists, due to differences in how hand preference and learning skills are measured.What is another name for left-handed? ›
It is estimated that right handed people amount to roughly 87% of the world. Left Handed (~12%). The second most common handedness type, studies show that on average us lefties make up around 12% of the population.Are left-handed people growing? ›
The proportion of left-handers increased almost linearly with year of birth up to 1970, i.e. the birth year of the youngest participants, with ~ 0.7 percentage-points per decade (Fig.Is it harder for left-handed children to learn to write? ›
About 10 per cent of the population is left-handed, and while being a leftie doesn't prevent you from having beautiful handwriting, it's recognised that learning to write can be a more difficult process for left-handed children.Is anyone in the royal family left-handed? ›
The Royal Family's Handedness
Texts indicate that Queen Elizabeth II is right-handed, and some of her relatives, such as her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, her dad King George VI, her mum the Queen Mum, and her grandson, William, are left-handed.
Research shows left-handed people may have a lower risk of developing ulcers and arthritis. They may also recover more quickly from strokes. An older article in the American Journal of Psychology suggests that left-handed people may be better at divergent thinking, a thought process used to generate creative ideas.
This indicates that if females had a chance of being left-handed of exactly 10 percent, males would have a 12 percent chance (the exact percentages vary a bit depending on geographical region). Given the low incidence of left-handedness in general, this 2 percent increase is quite a substantial difference.How much of the world is left-handed? ›
When you sign your name, odds are good that you will do so with your right hand. Only about 10 percent of people worldwide are left-handed, experts say. They're more comfortable writing, throwing a ball and doing other manual tasks with their left hand.What month is most likely to be left-handed? ›
However, post-hoc exploration of their and other sets of data has shown that there is an apparent tendency for left-handedness to be more prevalent in the period March-July than in the period August-February.What is the gift of being left-handed? ›
Lefties make up only about 10 percent of the population, but studies find that individuals who are left-handed score higher when it comes to creativity, imagination, daydreaming and intuition. They're also better at rhythm and visualization.What hand do left-handers eat with? ›
Left-handers – we know from our own surveys that 74% of left-handers eat with a knife and fork in the “right-handed” way – with the fork in their left hand and feeding themselves with the left hand.Who is the famous left-handed in world? ›
Retired bats Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. are also southpaws, as are some of the game's greatest pitchers including Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Ron Guidry, and Whitey Ford.When was being left-handed bad? ›
Left-handedness has been discouraged as recently as the mid-20th century. At times, physical restraints have been used, such as tying a child's left hand behind their back.Are most Japanese left-handed? ›
In Japan, about one out of every ten people is left-handed. Therefore, left-handed people are the minority in society. There are also people who can only use one side of their body due to physical disabilities.Is Bill Gates left-handed? ›
Innovators. Billionaire Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg are left-handers.Are left-handed people more dyslexic? ›
In fact, the difference is 90:10. This means that dyslexia may be more commonly found in left-handed people but the relationship is not necessarily causal. There is also the question of whether or not it is more common in boys than girls.
Only about 10-15 percent of people are truly left-handed; however, a disproportionately large number of them are artists and musicians. We estimate around 35 percent of the musicians in string orchestras are left-handed.What does left-handed handwriting look like? ›
“When you look at the cross of a handwritten T, a sharp point at the end of the bar will indicate where the writer quickly lifted the pen,” Ms. Kurtz says. “A left-handed person will usually end the stroke with the point ending on the left; for a righty, the T bar points right.”How do I know if I'm really left-handed? ›
Start clapping. Which hand is uppermost? Right-handed people typically have their right hand clapping onto their left. Left-handed people tend toward the opposite.How do I know if my child is left-handed? ›
If you think your child doesn't have a dominant hand, place a variety of objects directly in front of her throughout the day and make note of which hand she uses to reach for them. When your tally reveals that she is choosing one hand about 70 percent of the time, you can assume that's her preferred side.Can you be left-handed if your parents are not? ›
To be left-handed, both copies would have to be the left hand gene. That also means two lefties would always have left-handed children. This is not the case for your family or lots of others either. For example, if both parents are right-handed, there is a 1 in 10 chance of having a left-handed child.How many babies are born left-handed? ›
Eleven percent of the population is born left-handed, and if they seem different, it's because they are!What percentage of babies are left-handed? ›
Approximately 10% of all children are left-handed: about 11% of boys and 9% of girls. These statistics are consistent with findings in the literature on handedness.Was I born left-handed? ›
Special or not, lefties are born, not made: Genetics are at least partially responsible for handedness. Up until last year, it was assumed that hand preference comes from asymmetrical genes in the brain—two hands, two brain hemispheres, one is dominant.Who is being left-handed more common in? ›
It's more common in twins
(It was also once thought that all left-handed people started out as twins, and that their rightie siblings died in the womb.) Neither of these is true, but left-handedness is about twice as common in twins than in the general population.
-Counting how many people are left-handed is more difficult than it looks, because of variations in preference and skill from task to task and because of left-handers having been forced to write with their right hand, but the best estimate we have is that roughly 10% of the world population is left-handed.
A 2011 study from the American College of Chest Physicians suggested that left handers have significantly higher chances of developing periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). This disorder is characterized by involuntary, repetitive limb movements that happen while you sleep, resulting in disrupted sleep cycles.Who has higher IQ left-handed or right-handed? ›
Our confidence intervals at a 95% confidence level show that the average IQ for a left handed person is between 117.73 and 127.19 and for a right handed person it is between 109.9 and 123.5.What month are most left-handed people born? ›
However, post-hoc exploration of their and other sets of data has shown that there is an apparent tendency for left-handedness to be more prevalent in the period March-July than in the period August-February. The present work tested this seasonal hypothesis prospectively among university students.How are left handers different? ›
Left-handedness was associated with differences in brain asymmetry in areas related to working memory, language, hand control and vision. Some of these brain areas were linked to specific genes. Scientists have long been fascinated by left-handedness.Do more left-handed people have ADHD? ›
Overall, individuals with ADHD had a 27.3 percent chance of being either left-handed or mixed-handed compared to 18.1 percent in the general population. So the results suggest that the effects are smaller than for the autism spectrum, but generally go in the same direction.Are left-handed people more gifted? ›
They found no difference in IQ levels among left- and right-handed people, but left-handers appeared to be more likely to have an intellectual disability. However, this study indicated that people who were intellectually gifted or following typical development were also just as likely to be left-handed.Are left-handed people genetically different? ›
The genes linked with left-handedness result in differences in brain structure, the scientists found. For the first time, scientists have identified the genetic differences associated with left-handedness, a trait found in 10% of the human population.How rare is being born left-handed? ›
Although the percentage varies worldwide, in Western countries, 85 to 90 percent of people are right-handed and 10 to 15 percent of people are left-handed. Mixed-handedness (preferring different hands for different tasks) and ambidextrousness (the ability to perform tasks equally well with either hand) are uncommon.How rare are left-handed females? ›
This indicates that if females had a chance of being left-handed of exactly 10 percent, males would have a 12 percent chance (the exact percentages vary a bit depending on geographical region). Given the low incidence of left-handedness in general, this 2 percent increase is quite a substantial difference.