Soul Of A Southpaw: How Obama’s Left Handedness Shaped His Life

History hasn’t been kind to lefties. From being labeled evil, to accusations of witchcraft, using the antipodal paw wasn’t always smiled upon. Even today, the world seems to favor right-handedness—everything from doors to scissors are created with righties in mind.

President Obama stands out for many reasons that we’ve pointed out here on #ObamaOne: his intellect, his casual cool, a beautiful First Family and the lengthened impact his presidency will bestow on America through policy.

But there’s something that President Obama shares with 10 percent of the population along with four of the of the past six presidents. Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (who was reportedly ambidextrous), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are all leftys, also known as southpaws.

The correlation between politicians and left-handedness could possibly be explained in a 2014 Time article. Experts believe left-handed people “have a greater aptitude for language skills, which may help them craft the rhetoric necessary for political office.”

So what makes someone left-handed? Well, the verdict is still out. Scientists agree that it stands somewhere between nature versus nurture. But as a 2015 CNN article points out, being left-handed may predispose you to higher health risks; also, the oft-cited relationship between left-handedness and creativity is fairly difficult to measure. In sports, left-handed people hold an advantage in one-on-one activities like tennis, boxing or baseball pitching.

In 2009, Australian researchers uncovered that left-handed children 11 and younger performed worse than their right-handed counterparts. President Obama made no secret of his educational struggles—for many of his primary years, he struggled to gain focus, resulting in sub par grades and low ambitions.

His rise was an uphill battle, but with a renewed sense of identity developed after he moved to Chicago in the mid ’80s, President Obama was able to accomplish a wide range of political feats in a short length of time. Of course, that culminated with his election as the 44th President of the United States.

Research of left-handed people points to their heightened sense of resiliency, since most of their life is spent re-adjusting and acclimating to a holistically right-handed world.

Maybe for President Obama, being a lucky lefty had something to do with his incredible feats.



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