Left-handed people have always been considered unusual, in some cultures even outcasts. In the world of sports, they are called ‘southpaws,’ a term originating in baseball where lefties stand differently than the other players and pitch towards the south of the diamond. In the athletic world, left-handed and left-footed players are widely considered awkward and erratic to play against due to the unusual angles they use and the ability to do the unexpected.
Back in the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that left-handed people share a bond with Satan. In many cultures children who show a preference for using their left hand are forced to start using their other hand instead. This stigma towards lefties gave birth to the word sinister, which stems from the word sinistra – the Latin and Italian word for left.
Today, lefties comprise one-tenth of the world’s population. Some of the most famous people in the world are left-handed. August the 13th is celebrated worldwide as Left Handers Day. Barack Obama, Robert De Niro, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Justin Bieber all prefer the use of their left hands.
However, some data show that the stigma is not completely done with. A recent study over a sample of 47,000 Brits and Americans has shown that left-handed employees are significantly disadvantaged in the workplace and that right-handed people on average earn 12% more during their lifetimes. According to Harvard economist Joshua Goodman: “lefties have more emotional and behavioral problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in occupations requiring less cognitive skill.”
On the other hand, Einstein and da Vinci were both lefties, not to forget Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix. It is believed that people who prefer using the left hand thrive in creative avenues since the right side of the brain controls creativity, perception, and emotion.