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#1
Old 11-05-2003, 09:00 AM
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Can I teach myself to be left handed?

A great role model of mine was left handed. Being a lefty is seen as "thoughtful", "creative" and "unique". In the old days they would tie down the left arms of kids who were left handed so that they could get accustomed to using their right. I'm wondering if I can do the same thing? I'm 18, and am thinking of only using my left hand until I get more proficient with it. What type of results can I expect? Will I still be as proficient as my right, making me ambidextrous?
#2
Old 11-05-2003, 09:10 AM
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Practice makes perfect, and most - who have a perfectly good right hand - quickly switch back due to frustration. Left handedness runs in my family, and being a lefty I know what it feels like to write with my right hand...very odd indeed. When I try, it looks like I'm a stroke victim.

It's not totally impossible I'm sure.
#3
Old 11-05-2003, 09:17 AM
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Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
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According to scientists, "handedness" originates in the brain, so no, you'll never be able to change your basic "handedness". However, you can certainly learn to use your left hand with just as much agility as you now use your right hand. People do it all the time--amputation victims, for starters.

Be aware that your signature made with your left hand will be different, so expect trouble with banks, checking accounts, and other places that require a legal signature.
#4
Old 11-05-2003, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Be aware that your signature made with your left hand will be different, so expect trouble with banks, checking accounts, and other places that require a legal signature.
I doubt it. When's the last time a bank teller actually compared signatures?

In any case, "legal signature" is dependent neither on how it looks nor which hand it was written with.
#5
Old 11-05-2003, 11:30 AM
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I heard once that boxers who were right handed would train to be better with their left by doing everything with the left hand. I would imagine that over time it would develop but it might take a while.
#6
Old 11-05-2003, 11:36 AM
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Many years ago when I sterted playing raquetball I developed severe tennis elbow in my right (dominant) arm. It was so persistent that I decided to try to learn to play with my left hand. Even after a year or more of playing left handed I was still far weaker and less able to control my shots than I was with my right hand.
#7
Old 11-05-2003, 11:43 AM
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Not just boxers, drummers too and when they say everything...
#8
Old 11-05-2003, 12:08 PM
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I've known two left-handed people who were forced to be right-handed by teachers when they were children. They both have terrible writting.

I also know someone who's left-handed, but is naturally somewhat ambidextrous. She can write great with both hands. The writing is similar, but not identical.

So from my experiences, I would guess that you can train yourself to have some ability with the non-dominant hand, but you won't be truly ambidextrous.
#9
Old 11-05-2003, 12:32 PM
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Well, it seems like all the data you're going to get will be anectodal, so here comes mine:

I trained myself to be ambidextrous. Why? I didn't have any real idea why, just because I didn't like being limited.

The hardest part was writing. Mousing lefty was harder than I expected at first, but the learning curve was short.

My lefty handwriting is still worse than my righty, but at least now it's legible.

It comes in very useful in unexpected circumstances...

Now the only predominant handedness I still haven't overcome is ocular.
#10
Old 11-05-2003, 01:19 PM
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I've been trying to develop left-handed proficiency, too. For the past half of a year I've been occasionally writing unimportant things with my left hand, such as notes in my planner, etc. My left-handed penmanship is still pretty bad, but it's better than it was a year ago.
#11
Old 11-05-2003, 02:21 PM
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Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
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Quote:
When's the last time a bank teller actually compared signatures?
Mine do.

So do the Decatur Wal-Mart checkout clerks, when you give them a credit card. I have no idea what their handbook's SOP calls for if the sigs don't match, but I bet it involves way more time spent at Wal-Mart than you had originally figured when you just ran in there to pick up a case of beer.
#12
Old 11-05-2003, 03:05 PM
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I taught myself to write left-handed when I was in the ninth grade. Some advice: go to an office supply store and find some "pencil grips"--preferably the triangular-shaped ones made of soft plastic. These make it much easier to grasp and control the pencil. I used these for about three months, then switched to the foam-style grips. I didn't need any kind of grips after a year.

I write everything left-handed now, but I still sign documents right-handed. When I'm taking notes in class or writing a long essay, I tend to switch the pencil from one hand to the other to prevent cramping. This seems to make people nervous for some reason.
#13
Old 11-05-2003, 03:10 PM
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G'day,

I worked for about a year with a supervisor aged in his middle fifties who had lost the use of his right arm in a shooting accident at the age of 16. Despite forty years of strongly-motivated effort, he was about as adept with his left hand as I am with mine, and I am right-handed.

Maybe you can teach yourself to be left-handed. But it is not guaranteed.

Regards,


Agback
#14
Old 11-05-2003, 06:44 PM
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When I was in college, one semester I decided to do everything left handed. It was challenging at first but I became more and more adept until I wrote well, threw a frisbee reasonable well, ate with a knife and fork well and drank very well all left handed.

Perhaps the only real problems barring the illigibility of my writing early on were wacko nightmares about five or six weeks in. They lasted about four weeks or so.

I actually went to a doctor about them they were so bad. He suggested that it was my sleeping brain trying to deal with shifting from left to right brain or at least being confused by it.

Not long after I went back to being right handed absolutely no strange dreams at all. So, there might be something to that afterall.

TV
#15
Old 11-05-2003, 06:47 PM
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I had long periods as a kid with my right arm in plaster or smashed up fingers and I switched many functions to the left hand and now cannot do them with my right. I cannot write legibly with either.
#16
Old 11-05-2003, 07:12 PM
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I still remember training myself to write left handed in college.

It was like being back in the second grade, with penmanship lessons: straining to form letters, putting my tongue in the "concentrated effort" position, hunching over my paper, craning my left hand around to try and get the pen in the proper position, writing letters backward...

That last part was the weirdest... the letters would come out backwards if I didn't concentrate. The kinsesthetic programs were being transferred from the right side of my brain to the left without being inverted, but the hardware (the hand and wrist) is a mirror image, and so the letterforms came out mirrored.

I was taking neuroanatomy at the time, so it was even more interesting... and yes, the course was part of the motivation.
#17
Old 11-05-2003, 11:18 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Both of my grandmothers were left handed. Both went through the "using your left hand is evil" bit when growing up, but both responded differently. My mother's mother became completely ambidextrous. Anything she could do with one, she could do just as with the other. Knitting, writing, food preparation, etc. On the other hand (pun intended) I never saw my father's mother use her left hand for anything. I only know she was a lefty because she told me.

When I was in school I ripped my right hand open on a chain link fence and got the chance to learn how difficult it is to write as a lefty. While my handwriting was legible, it took a lot of concentration. But when one of my teachers called me up to the chalkboard to write, I discovered that writing vertically with the left hand was a breeze.
#18
Old 11-05-2003, 11:18 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Both of my grandmothers were left handed. Both went through the "using your left hand is evil" bit when growing up, but both responded differently. My mother's mother became completely ambidextrous. Anything she could do with one, she could do just as with the other. Knitting, writing, food preparation, etc. On the other hand (pun intended) I never saw my father's mother use her left hand for anything. I only know she was a lefty because she told me.

When I was in school I ripped my right hand open on a chain link fence and got the chance to learn how difficult it is to write as a lefty. While my handwriting was legible, it took a lot of concentration. But when one of my teachers called me up to the chalkboard to write, I discovered that writing vertically with my left hand was a breeze.
#19
Old 11-05-2003, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Thanks for all the info! I was at a Chinese restaurant tonight and was really excited about starting my leftyness, but I was having enough trouble eating my lobster as a righty, so I figured I'd start my training when it wouldn't be so embarrassing.
#20
Old 11-06-2003, 12:57 AM
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Location: Memphis, TN
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I'm getting thrown into this right now. I broke my shoulder two weeks ago so my right hand is out of commission for a while longer yet. I'd tried to teach myself before. My sister, aunt, and niece are all left-handed so there was some hope for me. I'm also oddly left-eyed even though I'm right eyed.

My writing is still very slow and hesitant. Luckily I can type fairly well with one hand.

-Lil
#21
Old 11-06-2003, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by percypercy
Luckily I can type fairly well with one hand.
That can be useful for a wide variety of internet communications.
#22
Old 11-06-2003, 06:30 AM
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Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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Anyone who has played a musical instrument can attest to the difficulty of not being ambidextrous. Especially right-handed string players who have to do all sorts of intricate things with their left fingers. On the other hand, lefties have just as much trouble with the bow.
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