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Famous Left-Handed People and Some Fun Facts About Being Sinistral

Famous Left-Handed People
Did you know that as many as 10% of the total world's population is left-handed? If you consider left-handedness abnormal, you should definitely think again.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Coffee cup in male hand
Left-handed (or lefty, or southpaw, or sinistral) is a term used for people who prefer using their left hand over their right to perform majority of day-to-day actions like eating, writing, playing, painting, etc. They are known as left-hand dominant as their left hand is more dexterous. 90% of the world population comprises right-handed people.
Earlier, being a lefty was a social stigma as it was associated with evil or misfortune. But, this is not true! In fact, on observing the following list, you will find that many successful people (right from rulers, generals, scientists, to artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities) in various fields are left-handed.
Facts about Being Left-handed
There are theories that suggest the advantages of being left-handed. But, some of these are mere factoids or observations, and are not proven with credible research or studies.
- Studies say that these people can adjust readily underwater than right-handed people.
- It is found that people who scale to the extremes on an IQ text are usually left-handed.
- Athletes (specially left-handed tennis players, batsmen, bowlers, etc.) have an advantage over right-handed ones, as they are more practiced to deal with right-handed players.
- In sports, it also happens that a shot by a right-handed player goes to the stronger hand
of the left-handed player; with the latter gaining advantage of it.
- Facts do suggest that among left-handed population, majority are males than females.
- Left-handedness (or any handedness) is not inherited from parents to the child.
Famous left-handed people
Alexander, the Great
Napoleon Bonaparte
Julius Caesar
Fidel Castro
Queen Victoria
King George VI

U.S Presidents
Barack Obama
Bill Clinton
George H. W. Bush
Harry Truman
Gerald Ford
James A. Garfield
Herbert Hoover

John McEnroe
Martina Navratilova
Monica Seles
Mark Spitz
Babe Ruth
Randy Johnson
Larry Bird
As it was believed in olden days that being a lefty was evil, there are still many cases where parents force their naturally left-handed kid to use his right hand for writing and other activities. Being left-handed is definitely normal. Parents should make sure not to force their kid to alter his handedness.
Left-handed or Cross-dominant?
There are some people who can use both their hands with equal dexterity. They are ambidextrous and comprise 1% of the total population. Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous ambidextrous artist in the world. Although writing with the other hand (the non-dominant one) is possible with some practice, natural ambidexterity is rare, and something that is inborn. Lord Baden-Powell (Robert Baden-Powell), Maria Sharapova, Ronald Reagan, etc., are other notable ambidextrous people.
On the other hand, there are people who use their dominant hand for certain activities, while the non-dominant one for others. For e.g., a sportsman may throw, bowl, bat left-handed, but, write with his right hand; or vice versa. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is a right-handed batsman, but writes with this left hand. On the contrary, tennis ace Rafael Nadal plays with his left hand, but writes with his right one. This is known as cross-dominance. Ambidexterity is a type of cross-dominance. It may be possible that these people were born left-handed and were taught to write with their right hand. As mentioned above, ambidexterity is rare; but, cross-dominance is comparatively common. A few notable cross-dominant people in the world include: Benjamin Franklin, Jim Carrey, Kobe Bryant, Michael Angelo Batio, Nikola Tesla, Oscar Wilde, Sourav Ganguly, Sylvester Stallone, etc.
Here is something interesting. Did you know that similar to handedness, there is also a concept of footedness and ocular dominance? Similar to handedness, people also have a preference or dominant use of either their left or right foot; and preference when using either of their eye. This occurs specially when playing sports like football and shooting respectively.
It is quite difficult for left-handed people to live in a world where most tools and machines are designed for right hand use. However, we find that left-handed people all over the world have excelled beyond imagination in every field. Perhaps, it won't be an exaggeration to say that most of the noteworthy people in the world were left-handed!