If you are right handed you probably don’t give the issue much thought as you are in the majority and the world is designed for the way you work. If you are a leftie life is very different and beyond the day to day difficulties of operating in a society totally geared up for the right handed, there are some serious issues which warrant attention, none the least of which is the fact that left handed people live shorter lives.
Myths and Facts
There are many myths floating around about lefties. Many believe that they are more creative and make better sportsman or that they are better at thinking outside the box. In fact there is no real evidence that any of this is true other than the over-representation of successful left handed athletes in disciplines where it is necessary to hold a bat or racquet. Here their success is most likely simply attributable to the difficulties opponents have in dealing with their different line of attack rather than any higher level of skill. Results of studies vary but there is no definitive proof that lefties are more creative or successful either. There are some interesting quirks like the fact that three out of the last five US Presidents have been left handed but this could just be chance, the sample is hardly a big one!
One much discussed issue which does have a foundation in truth is the fact that left handed people do not live as long, on average, as their right handed peers. The difference is a whopping 9 years and research is on-going into the reasons why. As the proportion of lefties is higher amongst those who had difficult births, it could be that there are more lefties carrying health problems from the beginning of their lives. It is also undeniable that lefties have more accidents on the roads, at work and in the home and this is certainly because they are forced to operate in a world set-up for right handed people, not because they are inherently clumsy!
The Right Handed World
There is no definitive evidence as to how many people are actually left handed but the research which has been done would suggest that the proportion is between 10% and 15% of the population. Whatever the actual number lefties are in a minority and that is where all their problems begin. Almost everything we use in life is designed and set up for the majority, the right handers. Implements, tools and everyday objects are all designed with right handers in mind and so it is just plain more difficult for left handed people to use them. Think about trying to wield a pair of scissors in you weaker hand, you will be less dextrous and have more accidents. Many everyday items do have left handed equivalents but they can be more difficult to find and even if you have them in your home that does not mean they are available in the office.
Lefties have fewer choices too. Everything is geared for the right handers. Watches are worn on the left arm by right handed people to keep them from getting in the way and to make them easier to put on and to wind if they are mechanical. Not every model of watch is produced in a left handed version and so if a leftie hankers after a certain Rolex, Tissot or Hugo Boss watch they are generally out of luck.
Life is more awkward and often shorter for left handed people and perhaps this issue should be given more consideration. It is one of those things in life which is the subject of many myths and much humour but the facts are a little scary and really no laughing matter.
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Sally Stacey is a regular blogger who writes on a number of interesting topics. She is right handed but had a left handed mother and so has seen how awkward life as a leftie can be.