Let’s start this off with a confession: the author of this piece is actually part of that benighted 90% portion of the population that is right-handed. But when I saw one of my fellow righties utterly bashing the left-handed world, right after National Left-Hander’s day no less, I knew I had to take action. There are actually tons of advantages enjoyed by the 10% that don’t get talked about nearly as often as they should, advantages that could be quite surprising to anyone who just thinks of it as an inconvenience for those sitting at small desks. So this article is written more out of envy than anything else.
10. Lefties Rule The World
You’ve probably heard how most of the recent Presidents have been left-handed, among them none other than Barack Obama. But the ability of lefties to reach positions of dominance over us righties extends much farther than that, as reported by Time Magazine. It also includes the richest man in the world (again Bill Gates, as of May 2013,) one of the richest women in the world (Oprah Winfrey,) and Leonardo da Vinci, one of history’s greatest artists. By contrast, Adolf Hitler was right-handed, which goes to show how badly giving one of them power can go.
9. Tantra’s Left Hand Path Means Enlightenment Faster
Being left-handed has a tradition in Western culture as being a sign of deviant behavior. This extends to some extent into Eastern culture too, but some religions have an interesting spin on it in those locations. For example, Tantra teaches that there’s a left and right hand path to enlightenment. The right-hand is the meditative and moderate one. The left hand is the one of more base pleasure, such as booze and meat-eating. It is said to be the faster way to enlightenment, not to mention the more fun way. So yeah, the slow-your-roll right-hand path is barely competition.
8. Combat Bonus
Being left-dominant has been shown throughout history to give people a greater inclination to violence. Probably it’s related to the frustration of having to deal with the fact almost everything is designed for righties, but also it’s a requirement of staying in the gene pool that they be fiercer and more ready for a fight. Also, their method of attack is not what a right-handed person has practiced or is prepared for, since even those inclined to practice fighting probably had a right-dominant sparring partner, but the southpaw is more likely to have had a grievance with someone right-handed before.
7. Faster Thinking
It’s not just that a 2006 study by the Australian National University found that left-handed people reacted to stimulus faster, but also that they were better capable of dealing with sensory overload. The effect wasn’t too severe, as it’s measurable in terms of an average of 43 milliseconds according to the experiments (that involved one hundred test subjects,) but in the combat situations that we mentioned before along with ones that will be discussed soon, milliseconds can make all the difference.
6. Lefties Are Better at Detail Perception
It’s not just how fast they’ll perceive sensory data than their opposite numbers. Left-handers have the ability to spot details in patterns and collections of information faster. As illustrated in the source below, if you arranged a bunch of N’s in an N shape, lefties will spot the individual letters faster, while the right-handers will see the giant N arrangement faster. If that doesn’t seem too handy, imagine spotting individual faces in a crowd, letters on a sign on a highway, or secrets hidden in a piece of art or maybe a screenshot of a video faster. Meanwhile, the right-hander is processing the big, obvious picture.
5. If You’re A Lefty, Your Wallet’s More Hefty
As indicated in Entry #10, by the fact Bill Gates is one of them, lefties are higher earners on average. For those who receive hourly pay, as reported by The Sunday Times of the U.K., their checks are 4% higher on average than their righty peers. Among those with a college education, another study found that lefties can earn 10%-15% more than righties. Theories put forward as to why included the tighter focus that we implied in #6, among other mental bonuses.
4. Less Predictable Brain Language Processes
The tendency is for right-handed people to have their language skills in the left hemisphere of the brain. In left-handed people, that is often distributed through the brain. It’s not just the left hemisphere, it’s also in the right, and the distribution is pretty varied.
If you’re wondering what’s useful about that, consider how often people lose use of part of their brains, and often the ability to speak, as a result of head injuries (such as a survivor of the infamous Columbine shooting.) When that happens, having more of the brain usable for speech can mean more ability to communicate in the wake of head trauma, and that can mean the difference between life and death when talking to people providing medical aid. It’s another way the left-handed keep their genes in the pool.
3. They’re Better At Baseball
This isn’t just because Babe Ruth was a lefty; it turns out that being a southpaw can make you better at the sport, period. There’s a reason left-handed pitchers comprise 250% of the amount of pitchers proportionate to their percentage of the population, and are even handy when it comes to batting. They force right-handed batters into a position where their perception makes it harder to judge distance, speed, and angle. Left-handed batters do not have this disadvantage, and as said, have speed and greater ability to focus on a specific thing in their field of vision. Also, their body is facing first base immediately after their swing, and thus provides them with some potentially crucial seconds to get on base safely.
2. Drawing Abilities
Being left-handed brings with it a more creative inclination, but it also means specific abilities that are handy when drawing comes more naturally to them. For example, when doing stuff upside down, as artists often have to do in the process of making a drawing, lefties are better at it, allowing them to create movements precise enough that they can even write text upside down. It’s especially handy for impressing that annoying art instructor who’s not giving you nearly enough time to draw a subject.
1. Memory Advantages
This last note, about how the brains of the left-handed function better than those of the right-handed, shouldn’t hurt the feelings of too many righties, because they won’t remember it. At least, that’s what was reported by the University of Toledo, which conducted a study with 180 Air Force recruits. The results showed that both leftes and righties could remember words and facts about equally, but what righties don’t remember so well are implicit memories, and lessons derived from personal experience. Lefties, on the other hand, seem to remember just about everything, including the bad stuff that can start fights at the family reunion. Luckily, their superior combat abilities should help them get out of any trouble that their superior memories (not to mention big mouths) start.