From left field — but in our right minds


From left field — but in our right minds

Five of the last 7 U.S. presidents have been.

And 1 in 4 of the Mercury-Apollo era astronauts: think Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and Wally Schirra.

So are international business moguls Steve Forbes, David Rockefeller and Oprah Winfrey. Ditto innovators Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. And before them, geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton and Aristotle.

And don’t even get us started on world-famous athletes, artists and musicians.

We’re talking about being left-handed. In the U.S., only about 10% of us are so gifted. Yet we take up way more than our share of space on lists of leaders in nearly every field.

Why? The left hand is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain — responsible for creativity, imagination, art and music awareness, intuition and holistic thinking. Left-handers also may have greater brain symmetry — meaning they go back and forth between both halves more easily. (The left hemisphere houses language, logic and scientific skills.)

Many lefties also become somewhat ambidextrous while learning to adapt to a right-handed world. In sports, being able to use both halves of your body almost equally well can be a big advantage. Tennis, anyone?

(On the less-happy side, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed.)

Actually, no one is completely left- or right-handed. Most of us mix it up some, or a lot. Take this test to see where you fall on the scale.

Then, take a moment to celebrate International Left Handers Day on Aug.13. Try doing these everyday tasks with your left or non-dominant hand:

  • Stir food in a pan
  • Eat with a fork
  • Pour a drink into a glass
  • Mousing at a computer
  • Brush your teeth

Finish by giving your left-handed colleagues, friends and family members a high-five — using your left hand, of course!