8 Reasons Why Life Is A Little Worse When You're A Lefty
Lefties always tend to stick out in a crowd.
Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey are all left-handed. Everyone's favorite little general, Napoleon, was also a lefty. If you're into philosophy, you might be pleased to know that Aristotle was left-handed.
Likewise, some of the greatest athletes in history were lefties.
Babe Ruth, "The Bambino," perhaps the most legendary baseball player ever, was a lefty. Diego Maradona, who is arguably the best soccer player in the history of the game, was also a lefty.
Today, lefties continue to be a hot commodity in both baseball and soccer, among other sports.
At the same time, life is pretty tough for lefties. Almost everything is made for righties. Even handshakes are awkward when you're a lefty.
It ain't easy being different.
Here are eight reasons why your life sucks if you're a lefty:
1. You're always in the minority.
Researchers at the University of Kansas found that the vast majority of ancient humans were right-handed. Thus, historically, lefties have perpetually been a minority group.
This means that lefties often get left out in a number of respects.
Unfortunately, this even happens in scientific research. Consequently, scientists claim we are missing out on vital information on everything from genetic disorders to neuroscience when it comes to left-handers.
If you're a lefty, you're just not getting the proper attention.
With that said, the notion that left-handed people are more likely to die younger than right-handed people is a complete and utter myth.
Although, there is evidence that lefties are more prone to minor accidents than righties. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that power tools and other dangerous items are designed for righties.
2. People don't trust you.
People fear what they don't understand. Given that most people are right-handed, it's not surprising then that lefties have always been viewed with suspicion and contempt.
As a recent study from the Journal of Economic Perspectives notes:
During the Middle Ages, left-handed writers were thought to be possessed by the Devil, generating the modern sense of the word sinister from sinistra, the Latin word for left. The English word left itself comes from the Old English lyft, meaning idle, weak, or useless.
Lefties have been discriminated against for centuries. This is why so many lefties have been forced to use their right hands in school.
3. You earn less money.
Evidently, this is linked to the fact that left-handed people display lower cognitive abilities than their right-handed counterparts. For example, as Danielle Kurtzleben of Vox highlights:
Lefties in the UK and US are 3 to 4 percentage points more likely than righties to be in the bottom decile of scores on math and reading tests. In some of the surveys, they are also shown to have a greater likelihood of speech problems and learning disabilities.
There is still debate over what all of this means; one study doesn't speak for an entire group of people.
Moreover, this is not to say that lefties are less intelligent than righties. There is no substantial difference between right-handed and left-handed people in terms of IQ.
Yet, it's clear that lefties struggle more in school, and this certainly impacts their ability to make money in the long run.
4. You're more likely to be easily frightened.
According to research presented to the British Psychology Society, left-handed people are more susceptible to fear than righties.
As head researcher Carolyn Choudhary, PhD, puts it:
It seems that after experiencing a fearful event, even on film, people who are left-handed had subtle behaviors that were like people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
This all has to do with the brain, and the different ways in which right-handed and left-handed people process things. So if you're left-handed and you hate scary movies, blame your noggin.
5. You're more likely to have mental health problems.
Around 20 percent of people with schizophrenia are lefties.
Likewise, scientists have found an increased risk for ADHD, dyslexia and mood disorders among left-handed people.
It's not entirely apparent why this is, but scientists suspect it has to do with the way that left-handed people's brains are wired.
6. You have a bad temper.
Left-handed and angry about it?
According to a study in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, lefties are more likely to experience negative emotions. They also have a difficult time letting things go.
In other words, if you're left-handed and you have a short-fuse, it might not be a coincidence.
7. You're easily embarrassed.
According to scientists from Abertay University in Scotland, lefties are far more bashful than righties.
The scientists conducted a study in which lefties and righties were measured for levels of impulsivity and likelihood to exhibit restraint. They found that lefties were far more likely to identify with statements such as, "I worry about making mistakes” and “Criticism or scolding hurts me quite a bit."
Perhaps this is linked to the fact that lefties have always been put in the spotlight for being different.
8. You're more likely to booze.
Obviously, being left-handed puts you at a severe disadvantage in many walks of life. Perhaps this is why lefties are more likely to drink heavily and be alcoholics.
When the whole world's against you, no one can blame you for wanting a nice stiff drink.
There is no genetic link between left-handedness and alcoholism, but studies have shown that left-handed people are more likely to consume larger quantities of alcohol on average.
At least beer bottles accommodate both hands. It's important to keep things in perspective.
Citations: Why Lefties Make Better Baseball Players (Newsweek), 11 Little Known Facts About Left Handers (Huffington Post), A Handful of Scientific Facts About Lefties (ABC News), Do left handed people really die young (BBC News), Study Left handed people earn 10 percent less than righties (Vox), The Wages of Sinistrality Handedness Brain Structure and Human Capital Accumulation (Journal of Economic Perspectives), The Health Risks of Being Left Handed (The Wall Street Journal ), Top 10 Lefties (Time), The Left Handed Advantage (ABC News), Handedness and drinking behaviour (British Journal of Health Psychology)