August 13 is the date to celebrate lefties
Are you left-handed? If so, you’re in good company—approximately 10–13 percent of the world’s population is, too. That’s a lot of lefties living and working in a right-hand-dominated world (where most tools, appliances, and machines are adapted for right-handed people).
August 13 is Left Handers Day—a chance to share your lefty pride! Help dispel the myth that lefties are the “odd ones”. Even if you’re a “rightie,” you can raise awareness of the challenges a leftie faces in everyday activities. Or consider buying a left-handed friend or family member a practical tool designed specifically for lefties, such as a left-handed notebook, ruler, scissors, or can opener!
You might not be surprised to learn that, statistically, lefties excel in many areas. For example, check out how many U.S. Presidents—especially in recent decades—were left-handed:
20th: James A. Garfield
31st: Herbert Hoover
33rd: Harry S. Truman
38th: Gerald Ford
40th: Ronald Reagan
41st George H. W. Bush
42nd: Bill Clinton
44th: Barack Obama
That’s four out of the last five!
Lefties excel as entrepreneurs, creators, and entertainers and rise to the top of many industries, including business. The list of famous lefties include Oprah Winfrey and the three tech industry giants Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. According to research compiled by the left-handers club, four of the five designers of the original Mac computer were left-handed. And, one in four Apollo astronauts were left-handed!
Some argue that lefties may have a greater propensity for creativity. Maybe it’s part of the problem-solving that they must face in a right-handed world. Mozart and Jimi Hendrix were both left-handed. You can add Leonardo De Vinci and Aristotle to the list of left-handed geniuses. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons is left-handed (and so is Bart Simpson).
Many sports stars are lefties, and some work their left-handed dominance to give them a competitive advantage. Left-handers excel in sports such as: baseball (Babe Ruth), tennis (reigning Wimbledon champion Roger Federer), swimming (Olympic champions Josh Davies and Ian Crocker), and golf (legend Phil Mickelson). French neuroscientist Guy Azemar studied world-class fencing championships over several years and determined that as many as one-third of elite fencers are lefties—that’s nearly three times the percentage in the general population!
If you’re a left-hander, we hope this makes you feel you’re part of an elite force. So, be proud. Connect with the other lefties in your life, at work, or in school, and share your challenges and successes. Support a left-hander you know by acknowledging the little extra work he or she must do in our right-handed world!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We’re dedicated to supporting all our students in pursuing their career goals. Contact us for more information about our diverse career training programs.