Archive for the ‘ Being a lefty ’ Category

Left-handed, right-brained and misunderstood

As I get older and move further along in my career in public communications, I am realizing more and more how very right-brained I am.

I’m a lefty, so I tend to do things a bit backwards. I also think differently. (Or so it seems to me.)

I get frustrated when I’m in a meeting and others aren’t on the same page as me. I find I’m often about 12 steps ahead of people, while they’re still processing an idea I’ve long since moved on from.

In the past, I just thought I had unique insight. Now, I realize my brain doesn’t process the same as the majority of the people around me.

My 22-month old, Biz, looks like he’s also going to be a lefty. He’s favored his left hand for eating and drawing (or “frawing”) since he learned how to hold a spoon. To gain more insight (that’s not my own) on the subject of how the right-brained person works, I found an article by Barbara Pytel on suite101.com. Here are some direct quotes from the article:

  • Right brains don’t like to listen to directions and don’t like to read them. They scan quickly and figure out what to do without reading details.

  • They don’t memorize well and need to visualize a picture so they can recall the facts.
  • Right brains don’t explain what they feel well and are misunderstood. They think of one thing, say another because their brain has already moved on to another thought.
  • Right brains don’t like to jump through the hoops to get something done. They also don’t like to follow rules which don’t make sense to them.
  • They see the whole person and are less likely to condemn a person because of a flaw.
  • Rights are trusting–too trusting. They easily have patents and ideas stolen from them, usually to a left. Lefts know how to use an idea. They just can’t come up with them on their own.
  • Rock and Roll music is preferred by rights. They are also easily distracted by music.
  • They often use their hands when they speak and may have difficulty speaking if they are not allowed to use their hands.
  • Right brains embrace new ideas. They are future thinkers and enjoy introducing controversial ideas.
  • They believe that everything is possible, tend to be very creative, and don’t see the pitfalls along the way.

    [Read more at Suite101: Right Brain Characteristics: Half of the population is right-brained.]

These all describe me very, very well.

Being a left-handed, right-brained person, I admittedly scanned through this article quickly, stopping on the points that truly resonated with me.

You might want to read the full article to gain your own insight.

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A note to parents of left-handed children

Two people have made comments to me recently about left-handed children. A co-worker mentioned that her daughter was worried her 19 month old son was left-handed.

At a recent basketball practice for 3 – 5 year olds where parents and kids work together on drills, a fellow parent shrugged her shoulders and declared, “She’s left-handed. I don’t know what to do with her.”

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to do anything different with your left-handed child. Just let him or her be left-handed. To the mom at basketball practice, I noted that being a lefty isn’t easy since everyone puts things (like basketballs) in your right hand. I know because I’m a lefty too.

The truth is, most of us aren’t truly left-handed. We’re pretty ambidextrous. We have to be, living in a right-handed world. I cut and kick with my right hand and foot. I can pretty much dribble and shoot a basketball with either hand comfortably. Of course, we’re good at switching back and forth because we’re also right brained. (You know, because left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind.)

Sure we do things the opposite way that most people do. Our check marks go the opposite way. When you open cards from us, they’re always upside down and backwards. We bump elbows with people at the dinner table. It’s not like we have a disease or anything. In fact, lefties are pretty smart and creative. Six of the past 12 presidents have been lefties (Truman, Ford, Reagan, Bush [Sr., of course], Clinton and Obama).

Lots of artists, musicians, actors and athletes are southpaws, including Michelangelo, M.C. Escher, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Robert DeNiro, Jim Henson, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, George Burns, Dan Aykroyd, Oprah Winfrey, Cam Neely, Larry Bird, Steve Young, Gayle Sayers, Ty Cobb and Ken Griffey, Jr.

Four of the 5 original MacIntosh computer designers were left-handed. The list goes on and on.

According to Wikipedia, only about 7 – 10% of the population is left-handed. If your child is, don’t fret. And don’t put things in his right hand. Let your child choose which hand (or foot) he wants to use. If you’re teaching a child something and can’t figure out how to do it the opposite way you’re used to, stand across from him instead of next to him. It’s easier to visualize. That’s what I do with my right-handed son, G. Of course, he’ll probably learn a few things left-handed. And that’s okay too.