TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

Work on becoming more ambidextrous? Hold your fork with your "bad" hand?

Lately I've been trying to become more ambidextrous, trying to write more with my left hand even though it's slower and doesn't look as good. It seems like a good way to increase muscle control?

I'm kind of interested in people becoming more ambidextrous with their knife and fork, for example, if they always hold the fork in their right hand, holding it instead in their left hand. In my case I live on a unique diet, all milk, and I was experimenting with drinking from two jugs of milk, one on my left and one on my right, going back and forth between the two in one drinking session (in other words, I had two jugs on the table.) I noticed that when the milk hit my stomach, it felt like the milk was much more evenly distributed both on the left and right of my stomach, it's like the food finds a different route to your stomach depending on which hand you drink with, and by drinking with both hands back and forth it was getting distributed more evenly in my stomach than when I only drank from one jug with my right hand. It was a pleasant feeling to be more balanced.

I wonder why our society, our parents and our schools, doesn't do more to encourage ambidexterity?

Share:
  • Apr 28 2014: It's a good way to stave off dementia, actually. Anything that forces the central nervous system to try out something new is good for that.
    • thumb
      Apr 28 2014: hey, thanks, Bryan. But how do get inhibited people to try something new, for instance I've suggested to my 80-year-old mom that she could switch her fork back and forth, eat a few bites with the fork in her left hand, eat a few bites with the fork in her right hand, but she won't do it, I guess she is too self-conscious doing something different?

      It also seems like a good way to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome?
      • Apr 28 2014: Nobody's ever gotten CTS from eating unless they have a severe eating disorder. My CTS began in both hands and the same time, and it was work related (stocking groceries--grasp and move many items very quickly, requires both hands).

        As for your mother, self-consciousness and embarrassment are two of the most powerful forces in controlling humanity. People will and have died from trying to avoid embarrassment--won't go to a doctor due to what they fear the doctor might notice or think of them. Then they can't put it off, but it's too late, so they die.

        Something so powerful it routinely kills people, one by one, not en masse, is a cosmic-level force. Good luck for your mother, but I think she'll lose any fight to embarrassment or fear of embarrassment. If the matter is keeping mental acuity, taking up something new that's less potentially embarrassing could be a good idea.
        • thumb
          Apr 29 2014: yeah, I suppose you're right, I was just thinking that if you worked both hands eating, it would incline you to work them both on other tasks as well.

          Excellent analysis on inhibition.

          So do you only write with one hand, Bryan? But would you ever start occasionally writing with the other hand, well, for some of the reasons we've said, to stimulate your mind, I mean I know you're not elderly and nearing dementia, but I guess it's never too early to start working against it?
      • Apr 29 2014: Write? With a stylus or some similar instrument? Oy! I can't remember the last time I did that. I tappy-tap on tablets with whatever hand is "handy" given the work at the time.
        • thumb
          Apr 29 2014: cool. Do you do any sort of drawing or artwork? Oh, but I guess you can do that on tablets now, too.

          Why don't you put a photo with your name here on TED? I enjoy the convos, learning, teaching, sharing, also hope I'll get a little fame off them, thus attach photo. Plus you might get better responses if people can see you, I know they say on personals websites you get more responses if you attach photo.
  • thumb
    Apr 6 2014: Good thoughts Greg and very meaningful. I am wondering if you might want to expand the idea to language and people. I heard of a family that assigned different languages to each of the major rooms in their home and whenever they were in that room they spoke only in that language. They said it was interesting watching members walking through the doorways and switching languages in mid-sentence. When I meet people who do not speak English I do not give up, I try really hard to communicate anyway with gestures and a smile. Each time I learn a little more about them and me. Kindness, food, a smile, handshake, pat on the back and hand gestures are a universal language that anyone can and do understand.
    • thumb
      Apr 7 2014: now how would this work for families that only speak one language, Keith? Or what if you were in the Spanish room and needed to communicate something that you didn't know the words for? Guess you could walk back to the English room.

      I used to tell people I spoke four languages: English, Spanish, computers, and music.
      • thumb
        Apr 7 2014: We are all different and some people are not interested in other languages, art, technology or even music. A lot of this comes from what we were exposed to as children.
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: excellent point, Keith. I'm curious, the family that was doing the "language rooms," were they in America? What languages did they speak? Cause one hears that Americans are somewhat impoverished when it comes to speaking other languages besides English.
  • Apr 6 2014: Over the years I've gotten to be ambidextrous with drills and nail guns but this doesn't seem to extend to much else, though drills and nail guns don't require dexterity as much as aim. In my younger and angrier days I was ambidextrous with a butterfly knife, but I'm not sure if I could do it now, its been a long time.
    • thumb
      Apr 7 2014: does it feel good to be ambidextrous with those two things, or does it not matter? I'm feeling like it feels good to me to work on ambidexterity. If it does feel good to you, Ja, then perhaps you'd work on it with other things?
      • Apr 7 2014: Its sure handy ha ha (bad pun sorry) and speeds up construction. A lot of the tools I use most often require both hands but the smaller hand tools lend themselves to being ambidextrous. I recall trying to write left handed when I was younger, but my writing is barely legible right handed!. I will have to keep this in mind and try to switch things up more often, always looking for ways to grow!
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2014: the larger hand tools might require both hands, but one could change up which hand they put in the forward position? Or which hand pulls the trigger, or operates the controls?

          Why is your writing not legible, Jacob? I'm not an expert on graphology, but I remember once reading a little bit on graphology, and the expert said that if a person's signature or writing isn't legible, it means that person doesn't really want to communicate. That kind of amused me when I thought how people say that you can never read what medical doctors wrote on the prescription. Though I can't say for sure, I expect I would encourage you to write more legibly, it really only takes a second longer and in the long run may save time because it's clear what you wrote. I believe it feels good to write legibly, well, it does for me, anyway.

          Where else might you find yourself applying the two-hands rule? Do you draw or paint at all? I've been drawing more since I got into two hands because it makes it more fun. And it caused me to experiment with drawing by putting the pencil in my mouth and holding it there and drawing as I've seen paralyzed artists do. I'm not paralyzed, it is just fun to try different things.

          Is that your wife in the profile photo, Jake? You look like a fun couple. What do you do for fun?
      • Apr 7 2014: Some of the tools like sanders and compound miter saws can be used with either hand but most of what I do involves sharp edges moving very fast ha ha (table saws, routers, jigsaws, skilsaws, etc) and are fairly dangerous. Loss of digits and or appendages is a constant threat (all it takes is a second's worth of loss of focus, I have felt the blade of a radial arm saw hit my fingernail, scared the shit out of me!), I used to draw and doodle all the time but haven't in ages, no good reason why.

        Yes sir that's "boss"warren in the photo with me, she's a lot more fun than I am and puts up with my dullness. We occasionally go shoot pool and our dogs keep us pretty entertained. I'm afraid I'm not very entertaining though, I rely on her to be the life of the party.
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2014: good point, jacob. I've heard that butchers struggle with a similar issue? A carpenter is somewhat a "butcher of wood"? Well, is there any situation where it's safe to do it with the larger tools?

          Somehow I never got around to shooting much pool, but it does seem like fun. What is it you enjoy, getting out of the house, the actual activity of aiming at the balls, the other people at the pool hall, or......? How 'bout music, does music do anything for you?
      • Apr 7 2014: Not sure it would be safe to try, but speaking of pool. I have practiced shooting left handed and it is necessary sometimes.

        No sir don't really like getting out of the house, bit of a homebody, and the other people at the pool halls are usually what keep me away, but my bride compromises with me and we go early, before most of the knuckleheads get there. I do like the music ( big on the blues!), but mostly its the act of shutting down my brain and "feeling" the shot that I enjoy. If I think about a shot too much I'm guaranteed to miss.

        Hey sir I got a notification that you replied to me in the self pity conversation but I couldn't find the post, you may have to re reply?
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2014: well, anyway, I love that you're openminded to looking for new ways to do things where it is safe? For me it has been fun in the last month or two. I enjoy the new sensations of doing something with my left hand, even if I can't do it as skillfully, just doing it differently brings some variety to my life?

          Jacob, you're a surprising guy. In many ways you seem very sociable and socially skilled, and yet you keep referencing points where you don't feel sociable? Well, I don't know what the crowd is like at a pool hall. I personally never go to bars, alcohol just holds little attraction, I could imagine that's a downpoint at a pool hall?

          Yeah, that's interesting, enjoying the feel of the shot versus thinking about it. You're saying that pool is a sensuous game? I wouldn't have thought of that, I would have seen it more with surfing, for example? So I guess it could be sensuous to sit here and type on the computer keyboard, well, I do slightly enjoy the feel of the keys under my fingers?
      • Apr 7 2014: These Ted converaations are a long way from a crowded pool hall ha ha! On the few occasions I have felt my temper rising here, I simply left the site till I calmed down, its not that easy in pool halls, at least not the ones I like going to, I feel more comfortable in rougher places, never got used to the fancier pool halls. Not sure if sensuous would be the term o would use. Maybe something more akin to the buddhist concept of "no mind" which I always equated with something like instinct(any buddhists out there please forgive me if I'm way off base in that understanding).
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2014: well, do you have conversations when you go to the halls? What are they about?

          What is it that might cause your temper to rise?

          Yes, I've heard of that concept, Jake. Well, you would say you are thinking when you engage in a TED conversation, correct? And when you're at your best lining up a pool shot, you're not thinking, you're.............? Maybe all visual, just seeing the ball, the hole, the route to the hole?
      • Apr 7 2014: Ha ha no sir I've never much of a talker, especially at pool halls. Loud, obnoxious, inconsiderate behavior usually sets me on edge, and the later you stay at a pool hall, the more likely you are to come across that behavior.

        Yes sir you got it exactly, type with my head, line up my shots with my eyes, shoot with my gut.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: well, do you think it's a case where people who talk loudly in a pool hall would talk loudly in other situations in their life as well? Or is there something about being in a pool hall that causes one to talk loudly? What might people do there that is obnoxious or inconsiderate?

          Are there similar activities to pool that you also enjoy, Jacob? Somehow foosball and pingpong feel kind of similar to me, well, both involve a skillful use of the hands on a small playing space, although they move much faster. Baseball seems a little like pool in the sense that it moves kind of slowly? When you play pool, is it just you and your wife playing against each other, or do you go with other people, or join games with others at the hall?

          Yeah, I'm trying to get the "no mind" thing. Well, technically, if one were to think about a shot, what would one think? "There's the ball, where do I need to hit it to make it go in the hole, so where do I need to hit the cue ball, on what line do I stroke the cue stick to hit the cue ball at the proper angle, have I lined up the cue stick properly, what could interfere with my stroke, have I accounted for that?" and so on. But how would that thinking interfere with actually shooting successfully?

          For fun, I have been going to the movies. Saw "Sabotage" yesterday, with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
      • Apr 8 2014: Man I may well be overly sensitive to loud noise and the presence of strangersha ha. Speaking of the "no mind" thing, it seem like that applies to your original topic. Is it at all involved in how you are using your less dominant hand? Do you think about how you are holding the fork, pencil, or glass, or do you try to go with what feels right compared to using your dominant hand?
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: well, it's hard to know, Jacob. At times loud noise can be very irritating, and other times it can be fun, like if you went to a Green Day concert? In general I probably enjoy being in a room where a bunch of people are enjoying themselves, the happy buzz. I suppose it could make it harder to line up a shot?

          Well, a nice thing about being with strangers is that one gets to experience the strangers's new ideas and personas, see how they dress and groom, how they carry themselves, who they associate with, and so on? Kind of surprising that you enjoy talking on TED but not at a pool hall? Is it because you think the other people there can't make intelligent conversation?My impression is that almost everyone has intelligent conversation in them, but with some people one has to work to bring it out? But I wonder if there's something you could do similar to pool where you could also have intelligent conversation? Do people talk more soberly at a gym? Or I do think you said, Jacob, that you like TED because you can think before you write. But you usually get back to me pretty fast, that shows that really you can think fast.

          Well, I believe that holding the pencil in my left hand has made me think about what I'm doing. Like I say, when I started holding it in my left hand, I started drawing more. Then I started experimenting with holding the pencil different ways, maybe with a couple of fingers, or sometimes with my whole fist wrapped around it, to see if there was a different effect. Then I was holding the pencil in my mouth and writing that way. I was kind of thinking I might hold the pencil between my toes and see if that changes how I draw? I would say I drift between thinking about what I'm doing, then sometimes just turning off the thinking and just doing the thing.

          When it comes to writing, I noticed with my left hand I can go much faster if I do cursive rather than printing.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: what is thinking anyway? Are you only thinking when you have words in your head?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: well, are you happy, Jacob? Do you wish you could warm up to strangers more quickly, or are you just fine with how you are? Do you wish you could think better in crowds, or are you fine with how you are? I know you mentioned liking to grow, maybe these could be growth areas for you?

          So when you say people are loud in pool halls, how loud would you rate them? If normal speech is a level five volume, what level are they at? Or do you mean it's loud because it's a group of people and it adds up to volume?

          I was shy in my younger days, but generally now not so much. Groups aren't too difficult either. One thing I would like to get better at is talking on the radio. I often call talk radio shows as a member of the audience, but it's still difficult for me. One often hears they don't want "dead air" on the radio, so when one calls one feels as though one really has to whip those thoughts out there. Oh well, practice makes perfect?

          I was on a national show a couple of nights ago, "Redeye Radio," which does originate from Texas.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: so how or where do you dampen the fun your wife has?

          so in general what kinds of growth do you seek, or where do you seek it?
      • Apr 8 2014: She cann read me lime a book and knows when I'm getting frustrated, angry or tense.

        I don't know, I guess all I really seek is to grow the depth and breadth of my understanding. I'm fine with my shortcomings (no self pity here! Ha ha), I have no need or desire to be "perfect" or illusions about the ability to be "perfect".
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: well, it does slightly seem like learning to warm up to strangers more quickly, or thinking more quickly in crowds, would help to grow the depth and breadth of your understanding. So what are your means to growing depth and breadth of understanding? I know you've said TED conversations. What else?

          what exactly is it to have testosterone in abundance when in a crowd? One more or less has about the same amount of testosterone whether alone or in a crowd? You mean your balls start producing more testosterone when in a crowd?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: let's see, the hackles are somewhere on the left side, between the kidneys and the bile duct? Well, is it that you're angry around a group of people, Jacob? Or fearful? But what is there to be angry about, or fearful of, when they haven't done anything, when they're just there? Maybe you're anticipating being angry, or fearful, what do you imagine will happen that will make you angry or fearful? Someone will say something stupid? Or look at you the wrong way?

          Well, books and films are great. But there is something to be said for interacting with a variety of other human beings. For me I often feel like I get better info talking to another person than reading a book or watching a film, I don't know why. Part of it is that they've already pondered the questions that come to my head, so they may have the answers for me. Or if they don't, maybe we can work it out in conversation, whereas you can't converse with a book. And there is something about talking to a living person in the room, versus on the net, that is special, again, I still can't put into words very well why. Well, for one thing it goes a lot faster, you can say things ten times faster than you can write them. Does any of that work for you, can you see how I would feel that way, maybe you can better explain my feelings to me, Jacob. Do you ever feel like you get great info out of a conversation with another person right there in the room with you, or is it always books, films, and internet?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: well, jacob, I believe you should work on articulating why you are on edge and work towards taking off that edge. Being comfortable with meeting new people is an important part of life, particularly for someone like yourself who is working towards increasing knowledge and awareness.

          So what are the pros to a face to face conversation?

          What makes you think they are just "putting up" with your conversation, and not enjoying it?

          Yeah, I think a variety is good, meeting new people, old friends, talking on the net, going on the radio, being alone and silent sometimes, reading books. What authors have you read that you particularly enjoyed? Freud is good, have you read him at all? One thing I enjoy is YouTube, do you have a YouTube account, one nice thing is that when you have a YouTube account, it starts recommending videos to you based on your past choices, and thus finds you interesting things to watch that are within your interests but you still might not find them on your own.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: I suppose it could be a good TED conversation, "Is it good to be comfortable in a crowd? How can one move towards that?," something like that?
      • Apr 9 2014: You start it and ill be the first to comment!
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: well, I thought maybe if it's something you are trying to achieve you would start it. I hope I'm not being pushy, Jacob. Does your work involve much social interaction, you have to spend some time with the customer to find out what they want if you're building a custom piece? Do you work alone? Work at home?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: now you had said you work for yourself, right, Jake? Are these guys your employees? Do you own the shop? What language do they speak if not English?

          Does your actual brother live in the same town as you? How about your parents, where are they and what are they doing? Any sisters?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: so when you take lunch, what do you do, Jacob, just sit by yourself and eat? The guy who owns the shop speaks English? Can you eat with him?

          now sometimes you read and watch some really deep stuff, right, Jacob? But you only want to devote a fairly small amount of time to that, mostly your heart is in carpentry? When you "philosophize" with your wife, which topics are you talking about? How does the conversation go, you usually start it, you say "hey, I was having this thought today, and I wanted to know what you think about it", or......................? It's interesting to me to hear about how others live, communicate, etc.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: I wonder if there would be some way to put "the spirit of TED" into a piece of carpentry? I mean, what is TED about, it's about being creative, looking at life a little differently. I suppose one could make wood pieces that reflect that?

          So does your wife read books? What does she read?

          I hope you don't burn out, Jacob. The ratio of work and serious stuff to fun for you is pretty weighted on the work/serious stuff.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: well, I think you're creative on TED conversations. Does your wife ever start a conversation with you about her intellectual interests, what might they be?

          Well, working is certainly important, Jacob. Do you ever wish you could work closer to the primary needs of humanity, cabinetry is certainly important, but farming might be the most important as food is the most crucial need?
  • thumb
    Apr 6 2014: Many times over the years, I have experimented and worked with doing things with my non-dominant hand. One can learn a lot about one's self by doing this if one pays attention to how it feels different from doing the same thing with one's dominant hand, as well as how it might feel the same. This is actually a practice that was given to students by G.I. Gurdjieff, a teacher of "inner work." It was part of a larger scope of practices to "do things differently" from the way one might "normally" do them out of habit.

    It can also be useful to learn how to use one's other hand for things such as writing, eating, brushing teeth, combing hair, working with a wrench, pliers, screwdriver or saw, etc. Consider how practical such ability might be if you were to, for some reason, lose the use of your dominant hand, whether temporarily or permanently. I've experienced a temporary loss of my dominant arm and hand a few times over the course of my 6 decades of life and it's been very helpful to have already developed an ability to do things with my non-dominant hand. Also, when working with tools, sometimes it's easier to use one's non-dominant hand when having to work in some awkward position.

    So, for both reasons - inner work and practicality - I highly recommend practicing doing things with one's non-dominant hand. And it can also be interesting and valuable to sometimes just do some things differently, rather than as one would habitually do them, or as others might be doing those things.
    • thumb
      Apr 6 2014: i think it also gives you more self-confidence because you feel more agile. Now, carl, when you ate with your opposite hand, did you have the impression that the food ended up in a different place in your stomach? Because my impression is that when when you put the food in with a hand on the other side of your body, you put it in a different place in your mouth, then you chew it in a different place, swallow it in a different place, and though it may go down the same "tube," it goes down on a different side of the tube and ends up in a different place in the stomach. That's the experience I'm having, and it's pretty cool. My stomach feels more nicely rounded, and "happier," and also I used to develop this little hard, painful piece of skin on the sole of my right foot, but that stopped when I started eating with both hands instead of just my right hand.
      • thumb
        Apr 6 2014: Greg, I have not experienced any difference in the feeling or sensation of having put food into my mouth with my other hand. The way or location in my mouth that I chew my food does not depend upon which hand I use or which side of my mouth receives the food, it depends on how I prefer to chew. And I tend to chew my food for a longer time than most people - I'm a slow eater. So, ultimately, I process the food in my mouth the same way regardless of which hand I use to eat with. So, mine is most likely quite a different experience from yours of ingesting your completely liquid diet of milk.

        I suppose "self confidence" might increase with ambidexterity. I appreciate it more in my experience of balance of body development which helps provide me with a more balanced experience of life.
        • thumb
          Apr 6 2014: thanks, carl, I'm kind of surprised as I can really see a difference for me as to how my stomach feels. But even if people didn't see a difference in how their stomach felt, it's still quite a nice feeling to alternate hands, actually I think it would lessen the strain on the one hand. Might help people with carpal tunnel syndrome?

          I got the idea well, are you in America you know our milk comes in gallon containers (about 3.78 liters) I realized that of all the different containers the gallon container was shaped most like a breast full and round at the bottom and tapering to something like a nipple at the top, so I started drinking all my milk from gallon containers. But then I realized if I were a baby nursing at my mom's breast I would alternate breasts, so then I started drinking from two containers. But I realized I could apply the principle to other activities, for instance, I was just checking some figures for my mom, and I set myself up with a calculator on my right side and one on my left, and was going back and forth between them as I checked the various columns. I believe it made it easier and more fun to alternate this way rather than working one hand exclusively and the other hand is not doing anything at all. Have you extended the principle this way at all, where you're setting yourself up deliberately to use both hands? Developing both hands would be an advantage in sports as well. And sex, as you say, anything you use your hands.

          When I ate solid food I chewed slowly as well. Actually, I believe in chewing beverages as well, so I do chew my milk.
      • thumb
        Apr 6 2014: I spontaneously do things "differently" and pay attention to how it works and feels, and I do this for both large motor tasks and fine motor tasks. I don't necessarily go back and forth as you seem to have with the calculators, but I have worked both hands and feet that way.

        One practical use I found for doing that was for my self-assigned therapy after I had a stroke a few years back. It significantly affected use of my right side. Doing my therapy by alternately or simultaneously working left side and right side was, I think, highly beneficial for me and I highly recommend it for anyone who has had a stroke or injury and is in need of therapy on one side.

        The past couple of years, I helped coach my grandson's Little League team. During that time, I experimented with throwing a baseball with my left hand. Barely worked at first. After going back and forth between left and right many times - and even trying a few throws with both hands simultaneously! - I got to where I can now throw pretty well with my left hand. But I still have to think about it each time and really pay attention. But it was all a matter of feeling what my right arm and hand were doing, along with my whole body, and then mirroring that as best I could with my left side.

        Speaking of throwing, I've also played with this for skipping flat stones on the water, but I haven't done that enough to get very accomplished at it when using my left hand.

        We've had a LOT of snow to shovel this winter in northern MN. I alternate shoveling on the left and right to exercise and wear myself out in a more balanced way. Also, sometimes it's just more convenient to do it one way rather than the other - depending on where I can throw the snow or which way the wind is blowing.

        There are endless opportunities to play with this whole approach to life, some more practical than others, but always interesting.
        • thumb
          Apr 6 2014: would it be fair to say it took a stroke for you to do that? And for me, it took a long time of living on milk, which I am forced to do because of some health concerns of my own (this diet has been fantastic for my health) before I thought of this idea/approach. Too bad we couldn't have thought of it before we were forced to. I wonder why we didn't, or why the world in general isn't oriented toward ambidexterity?

          When i was watching michael jordan play basketball and trying to figure out what set him apart, I noticed he dribbled excellently, controlled the ball excellently, with both hands. I thought this might be part of his "secret."
      • thumb
        Apr 6 2014: No, it wouldn't be fair to say that about me. By the time I had my stroke, I had already been "doing things differently" for decades and I was already quite proficient at utilizing this technique for practical purposes. For whatever reasons, I was inspired to start playing around with strange things such as this when I was a young kid. So, I speak about this from l-o-n-g experience.
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2014: yes, I'm sorry, Carl, I realized later in the evening that you had said you had done it for a long time. Hadn't you said you did other adventurous things as well, do you feel like sharing?

          Still, I wonder why it is "strange" to use both hands. Theoretically one could say it's strange that we don't use both hands more.

          Wonder if E.T. the extraterrestrial was ambidextrous?
      • thumb
        Apr 7 2014: It's only somewhat "strange" because it's not commonly done - by individuals, by people in general. There are exceptions, of course. And we actually do use both hands for countless tasks, especially large motor tasks. It's the fine motor skills that tend to restrict most of us to one hand or the other. The inclination for that is somewhat hard-wired in our brains, as well as constantly reinforced by practice. Every time we do something, we make it easier to do it again, the same way - the "right" way for most people, being right-handed.

        As I've mentioned, I spontaneously play with using my other hand for lots of tasks, so just about anything I've ever done with my right hand, I've also tried doing with my left. Because of that, I could go on for a long time about particular tasks, but with little significance, because there's really not much to report about those experiences and I don't even recall most of them. I've already shared a little about most of the major ones. For most of my experiences, there's really nothing of significance to report. Cumulatively, however, I feel that my long ongoing experiences doing this have had significant impact on my life in various ways, particularly involving balance (physical, emotional, intellectual) and dexterity.

        This isn't transferable experience, though; one needs to just work/play with it for one's self - and pay attention while doing it in order to gain some insights from doing it, along with some ambidexterity that may or may not prove to be useful in the future. And it takes some experience with this to even begin to be able to pay attention to what it feels like within one's body, because it's not something most people are used to paying attention to. So, I encourage you to continue experimenting with this; work and play with it. I highly recommend "doing things differently," including using the non-dominant hand, for everyone.
      • thumb
        Apr 7 2014: Just came across this:

        Developing Handedness ...

        http://www.insidescience.org/content/babies-dont-develop-handedness-all-once/1522
      • thumb
        Apr 9 2014: One "class" of suggestions Gurdjieff offered had to do with using the "other" hand for various tasks, which can be applied to doing just about anything that is a one-handed operation. But there are many other ways to "do things otherwise" - another way of stating the general suggestion. One example Gurdjieff would sometimes demonstrate himself was to hold every bite of food up to his ear to supposedly listen to it before putting it in his mouth. One possibility might be to do something such as ascending or descending the stairs backwards, or pass through every doorway backwards. Or, if you notice you always put your shirt on and then your pants, you could do it the other way. When you go to the supermarket, maybe you could push your shopping cart backwards (possibly while wearing your pajamas). These aren't things Gurdjieff suggested, I just made them up to illustrate some possibilities.

        It's not about doing things in some strange way to attract attention or to entertain or shock people or to play some weird games. This is about doing "inner work" on one's self. It's about breaking habitual patterns, paying attention, and learning something about yourself by doing so. So it doesn't really matter what you do, it's about how you do it and why you do it. It's part of working with what Gurdjieff called "observing yourself" to become more aware of how you behave - specifically, how a lot of your behavior is "mechanical", meaning without conscious awareness. And the whole point is to become less "mechanical" and more aware, more human.

        So, going shopping in your pajamas - what did you observe and learn about yourself by doing this? For the purposes of "self-observation," it doesn't really mater what other people might think or how they might react to you being out in public in your PJs, what matters is what doing that revealed to you about yourself.
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: well, those are good ones you made up, Carl. How long did you have to think to make those up, that seems to me to show some talent.

          I have sometimes listened to my clothes to see which one sounded best to wear for the day.

          Seems to me that observing how others react to you would come into the experience of seeing life differently, too, can't see a reason to seal off others' reactions? Well, for me going to market in pajamas was relaxing, as I knew I wouldn't be going out to do anything else that day, so it saved me a couple of clothing changes. Occasionally one can get a small feeling that one might be dreaming being out and about in one's sleeping clothes. It's fun, too, when someone sees me in my p.j.'s and laughs, I feel like I gave them a bit of pleasure and actually something to think about.

          I just visited a community college and I went to the campus police and asked if it was acceptable to walk around the outside part of campus without a shirt, as it was hot. They said yes, it was, then we got to talking about why some businesses post signs "No shirt, no shoes, no service," which was interesting.
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: I was thinking Candid Camera type pranks might have the "Gurdjieff effect" of making us look at life anew? I suppose all humor does. Here's a funny video with a guy pulling up to a drivethrough restaurant and singing his order over the intercom while accompanying himself on guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN6yTXDixrk
      • thumb
        Apr 9 2014: What I wrote pretty much came out of my fingers as I typed, except I had already thought of backwards on the stairs before I even started. And the shopping cart one was easy - inspired by and created especially for you. But driving your car down a public road backwards would, of course, not be appropriate.

        In Gurdjieff's view, observing and interpreting what other people are doing tends to involve a lot of imagination, and imagination (false imagination, fantasizing) is something he wanted people who are "asleep" - meaning not fully conscious and aware - to avoid getting caught up in because it usually is not only non-productive but also becomes a self-delusional distraction and can lead to serious problems of a variety of types for someone who is supposedly trying to awaken. Also, if you don't really know yourself, you can't expect to really know other people and what their thoughts, feelings and motivations might be, behind what their superficial reactions might appear to be. But that's another whole, long story.

        So, if you were a woman, would the campus police have allowed you to walk around the outside part of campus without a shirt? How about if you were a woman whose breasts had both been removed due to breast cancer - meaning no nipples? How about if you were a man with large breasts and nipples? Why are so many people so fascinated/enthralled/titillated with tits - still so attached to breasts and nipples - that the don't want anyone to be allowed to see them in public? Doing some things differently can get a person into a lot of trouble. Crazy world we make for ourselves to live in.
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: but did Gurdjieff have a sense of humor about his proposals, I mean I feel quite amused when I go to a supermarket in my bathrobe and pajamas, it seems healthy to see humor in it.

          Excellent questions about other facets of exposure. I have asked at my local police station if it were illegal to, for example, walk outside my apartment naked to hang wet clothes on the communal clothesline. They said yes. They said that if I'm inside my apartment and someone catches a glimpse of me nude through the window before I put on some clothes, that's okay, as long as I'm not trying to be titillating. But if I go outside naked, even if I'm not trying to be titillating, it's too possible that someone would think I am trying to be titillating. Hence it becomes a police matter, as far as I know a crime.

          It seems like girls' breasts have more of a sexual meaning than guys' nipples. Why is this, is it because the nipples are bigger and hence more sensitive sexually?
      • thumb
        Apr 9 2014: It's not really about "looking at life anew," it's about looking at one's self to see one's own behaviors - thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions - anew in order to more clearly understand one's self. And this isn't done from a paradigm of "what's wrong with me" but from a paradigm of "who do I believe I am and how does that differ from and keep me from knowing who I really am?" as well as from a paradigm of "how do I awaken to my true self, my true nature, and realize my full potentials as a human being - how do I become fully human?"

        And, again, it's not about doing things differently to provide entertainment.
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2014: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes..."
          (Marcel Proust)
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 19 2014: wait, Chris, why would people who are emphasizing the logical, analytical, and objective part of their brain be more malleable?

      when you start using both parts of your brain, can you actually physically feel activity in both parts? I presume when people start talking about left brain and right brain they literally mean the right part of their physical brain and the left part of their physical brain.

      I really think it is going to different parts of the stomach. I notice my pants are fitting differently, better, since I started using both hands to eat (well, in my case, drink, since I live on milk.) I believe this is because my stomach is shaped differently now.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 21 2014: so if i've always written with my right hand, but now I try to start writing sometimes with my left hand, would you think that I would see other changes in my life? What might they be?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 22 2014: so you were suggesting that people suppress ambidexterity because it would lead to creativity that would threaten society? What specific creative things might people do that would threaten society? But I wonder if it's true, Chris, because society has a lot of appreciation for creative people, such as Van Gogh, Spielberg, and so on.

          Further, I wonder if the left brain/right brain formulation is correct. I hear that women use their right brains more than men. So presumably they would write with their left hands? But most women write right-handed, don't they?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 22 2014: sorry, Chris, I guess that was my jump. When you say creating a bomb, do you mean creating one and using it, because that seems primarily like a destructive act, not a creative one?
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: Constraint induced therapy has been used for years - mainly in patients who have have a stroke. This primarily involves immobilizing the good arm to force movement of the involved extremity to develop use and hopeful neural pathways.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMTh2hWvB2g
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: well, I suppose someone who has not had a stroke could use it as well, just put an oven mitt on the good hand and force themselves to use the bad one. Might be good for basketball players who want to get good at dribbling with the left hand. Is it something you'd ever use to try to "activate" the "bad" hand?

      But this would only be for people who don't have the discipline to use the bad hand without the oven mitt.

      I would say my ultimate vision David is someone going back and forth between hands in the same session, in other words holding the fork for a few bites with the right hand, then a few bites with the left, and back. Or put a knife and fork on both sides of the plate and alternate use. Or actually make two plates, divide the food between two plates and go back and forth. Well, we already kind of do that with a salad plate and a dinner plate. But we still hold the fork in just the "good" hand. When I was checking some of my mom's income charts, I set myself up with a calculator on both left and right and went back and forth between them, it really made it more fun, I wonder why it made it more fun, maybe it was just being different?

      As I said in the introduction I've been drinking from two jugs and I've noticed some real changes. For instance, all my life I was terrified of heights. But I've been drinking from two jugs for the last few weeks, I had occasion to walk over a bridge, and for the first time in my life I wasn't scared hardly at all, in fact I was pausing to admire the view, look down at the things below, etc. I really attribute this to drinking from two jugs, it has changed my body chemistry and made me more mellow and confident.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: I think this has the makings of a good study!
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: well, in my case i live on milk but not too many people are going to do that. But David, if you were to try the idea when you eat a meal of switching your fork back and forth every few bites from right hand to left hand, I would be curious if it had any effect on you, the hypothesis is that the food would end up in different parts of your stomach and you would feel differently.
  • thumb
    Apr 8 2014: Hi Greg!
    I'm reading your introduction.....I think there is only one route to the stomach.....and......there are neural pathways throughout the brain, which can be stimulated with the use of one side or the other.

    It is interesting to "play" with using the dominant side AND the other side, and it was something I explored when recovering from the head injury. It helped rebuild motor skills and new neural pathways in a brain that had been injured and challenged.

    Because of carpel tunnel syndrome, I became more ambidextrous with tasks like gardening, painting, etc., in an effort to give the dominant right hand/wrist a rest now and then. That has helped me manage the wrist condition, and it is a fun, interesting exploration. Try brushing your teeth with the non-dominant hand if you want to have some fun!!! LOL
    • thumb
      Apr 8 2014: well, there's one tube, colleen, but for me it sure feels like the food can flow down different sides of the tube, and hence end up in a different place?

      cool that you tried the other side. I wonder why our society doesn't promote it more, one place where they do promote it is athletics, in basketball there is a sense that you would be more successful if you were skillful with both hands, but couldn't that be true for other things?
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: Could be Greg!

        I don't know why ambidextrous is not encouraged....I think the exploration is fun and interesting.

        Society has, at times DIScouraged using the left hand....remember? My dad was left handed naturally, and when he was a kid in school, he used to get his knuckles wrapped with a wooden ruler if they caught him writing with his left hand....I don't know what the thinking was behind that....I'll see if I can find anything. Anyway, my father grew up writing with his right hand, and doing everything else with the left, naturally dominant (for him) hand!

        There are some other fields besides sports where it is stressed....dancing, figure skating, yoga, martial arts.... for example. It helps with strength and balance.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: yes, in fact I've heard some people who are religious believe that writing left-handed is satanic, isn't that strange that it would seem that bad to them?

          well, how is it stessed in dancing? And how in yoga? It seems like it is more stressed in the full-body activities? As opposed to writing, where people think you are only using your hand. But in reality I think writing is a full body activity, technically all your muscles contribute a little bit to any activity that any one of them does.
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: Interesting bit of history!!! It appears that some folks STILL discourage left-handedness.....that surprises me...lots of information "out there" about it.....isn't the internet great???

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_against_left-handed_people
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: Greg,
        Regarding your statement.....writing left handed is thought to be satanic.....check out the link I just posted!

        You ask how it is stressed in dancing? Yoga?
        The same as in sports.....doing the same moves on BOTH sides.....strengthening the less dominant side for strength and balance.

        Funny that I am going to PT (physical therapy) for a hip challenge that seems to be caused by what we're talking about.....

        I am right side dominant, and over the years I've had some challenges on the left side (broken bone in the foot, broken tibia (bone in lower leg), etc.)

        The dominant right side has been favoring the left foot/leg (right is getting stronger while left is getting weaker), which has adversely impacted the left hip! We are working on using and strengthening both sides equally:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: yeah, I skimmed it, colleen. I was wondering if maybe we never can get as good with the nondominant hand, for example I've been taking some notes with my nondominant hand and they're kind of shaky, I'm assuming with enough practice I would get just as good with my left as with my right hand, but maybe it's a wrong assumption? Well, I don't care, I'm the only one who's going to use the notes, they're good enough for me. If I was writing for someone else's consumption I might use my good hand, though.

          I wonder why some people do use the uncommon hand, maybe they do have a spirit of rebelliousness, that might cause society to dislike them. If you could take a group of rebellious people, maybe a bunch of rock 'n' rollers, would you find more left-handers among them?

          How exactly is one hip dominant or nondominant, I understand it when it comes to hands.
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: Greg,
        The link I posted says... "Approximately 8–15% of the world's population is left-handed."

        One side of us can be stronger than the other side. When I used the more dominant right leg, it caused the left leg to get weaker, therefor impacting the hip.....everything is connected!
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: yes, come to think of it, I was always much more comfortable shooting left hooks with the basketball than right hooks, and that didn't feel like it was because I was emotionally a rebel (although I was,) it just seemed like that was what my body naturally did. Isn't that curious, Colleen, we seem to develop pretty uniformly in the womb, like almost all of us get two eyes, one nose, one mouth, guys get penises, girls get vaginas, yet something like handedness really can develop with intense differences between people.

          Colleen, what are instances where one makes a choice to use one leg over the other, in my mind the legs one uses pretty much equally, one takes a step with one leg, then one takes a step with the other.

          Would you characterize yourself as rebellious? That's suddenly a good TED topic to me "Are you a rebel, and how is that working for you?" I'm kind of rich in topics right now, I've submitted three new ones, and I have about four good ones in mind.

          Maybe you can answer a question that neither TED nor Fritzie would answer for me. I was thinking when you see a TED vid, you'll always see that it has at least 200,000 views. I wonder how that works, presumably a video has to start with one view, then two views, 3, 4, 5, 10, 100, 1,000, and so on. Do you ever see one with those low numbers, I don't, I wonder why?
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: You ask Greg, for instances where one makes a choice to use one leg over the other?

        I use one water ski....right foot/leg in control....left is in the back.
        Downhill skiing I parallel ski (turning both ways well). If however, I get into a pinch, I naturally turn left....right downhill ski/leg is stronger/dominant and in control.
        Dancing and figure skating...turning and jumping to the left is natural for me (right leg is dominant)
        Just a few examples:>)

        I would not characterize myself as rebellious, although I can and do rebel at times:>) It WOULD be a good topic Greg.....go for it!

        Sorry I cannot answer your question about the number of views a video gets...I've never noticed those numbers.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: oh, i see, colleen, thank you for clarifying.

          so i believe i've seen you as an atheist, you wouldn't think of that as rebellious?

          Well, they haven't put up three of my topics or sent me a rejection notice. I hope they got them. One I hope they put up just because I want to see what people say is this thing I do frequently where if I hear about a story I think might interest the media, on a voluntary basis I just shoot a TV station or newspaper or radio station an email, or leave them a phone message, telling them about the story. I would guess over the years I've probably sent 200 story ideas to different media outlets, such as calling the Los Angeles Times's tip line. It's fun and makes you feel connected and you learn about media. The convo would just advocate the idea, what interests me is what people might say back, it's hard to imagine anyone would think it's a bad idea, but maybe someone will say it's a bad idea.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: perhaps when one starts out to walk anywhere, even across the room, one always starts out with the same foot? I've never noticed, that would be good to notice and perhaps change up.
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: I don't label myself Greg. I have said several times in various conversations here on TED and elsewhere, that with the information I have at this time, I do not believe there is a god. My choice does not feel rebellious.....it feels like a reasonable, logical choice based on study, research, and experiences.

        That might be an interesting observation and exploration Greg....noticing which foot you start walking with and changing it up now and then. Making little changes like that might help create new neural pathways, so when we are faced with a big change, it may not impact us as much.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: so when, where, and how do you dance? You sure are active, colleen, would you say you're super-organized that you can make time for all these things?

          Thanks for clarifying on the atheism. But then do you think there really is such a thing as rebelliousness, and what would constitute it? Would it just be being different to be different, which would be a bad reason to be different.
      • thumb
        Apr 8 2014: I danced on stage in conjunction with musical theater Greg, and for fun and enjoyment when the opportunity arises:>) I've taken ballet, jazz and tap classes over the years.

        There are different stages in life where different interests may get the focus. I don't consider myself to be "super-organized".....I'm just a regular human with curiosity and intent to live life to the fullest:>)

        Yes, I believe there is such a thing as rebelliousness, and what triggers it in individuals could be almost anything.....could be just wanting to be different.....could be wanting to change an oppressive practice....a government for example......there are LOTS of possibilities...
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2014: yes of course colleen, I suppose it is true that even then you were strengthening one leg over the other. Are there dances in your town, do you go to those?

          Have I asked if you ever did the freeform rock 'n' roll style of dance?

          Well, you sure seem to be more active than most.

          So apparently you wouldn't consider trying to develop one's nondominant hand rebellious? But if it goes against the prevailing way of doing things, it does feel somewhat rebellious?
      • thumb
        Apr 27 2014: Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner Greg. Your comment with questions kind of got lost in my inbox!

        I don't go to regular dances anymore, although I was participating regularly in a ballroom dance group for awhile. I still LOVE dancing, and do it occasionally when the opportunity arises. I've done lots of "freeform" dancing:>)

        No, I do not consider developing one's nondominant hand rebellious....it seems like a natural process for me....as needed:>) Whose "prevailing way" are you speaking of, and what is the advantage of following an idea simply because it may be a "prevailing way" for some people?
        • thumb
          Apr 27 2014: hey, colleen. Sorry, what is a ballroom dance group?

          It would be fun if we could see a video of you on the net somewhere performing or dancing. Wonder if any of your training films ever made it to net. Or your Ms. Vermont competition. I like dance because it's genuine exercise but feels better sensuously, at least to me.

          Well, I have a lot of fun working with my left hand, I worry that other people who are too inhibited to work their nondominant may envy me the fun I'm having and thus hate me? Have you ever dealt with envy, for example were people envious of your Mrs. Vermont win?
      • thumb
        Apr 28 2014: Hey Greg!
        A ballroom dance group is exactly that.....a group of people who get together to do ballroom dancing. The one I was involved in was open to the public and there were instructors available to teach technique. There was usually a pretty big crowd and it was fun. I agree....dancing can be very sensuous and it is great exercise....it also feels very freeing to me:>)

        I worked as an actor, singer, dancer over 25 years ago Greg....it was one stage of my life....almost seems like another lifetime. Although there were lots of local and regional commercials on tv, I am not aware of any of the videos I did making it to the internet. Was there internet way back then??? LOL:>)

        If someone envies you for using your non dominant hand, they could try it themselves, then there would be nothing to envy. I haven't ever been aware of anyone being envious of me Greg. I have always felt encouragement and support from the people around me.
        • thumb
          Apr 29 2014: Yeah, there is a saying I heard "Free your ass, and your mind will follow." You like it?, I like it. Have I asked you if you've done any belly dancing, Colleen, that's a good variety, too.

          Well, of course, but the problem is that people are too inhibited to try something new or different, which is fine, but then they don't want anyone else to be adventurous either? Do you encounter people who strike you as inhibited, or what is your position on that?
      • thumb
        May 2 2014: No Greg, I don't really like that quote very much....seems like there could be some interpretations that are not necessarily beneficial.

        Some people are inhibited, and some are not. Personally, I like exploring. Lots of folks tell me I'm really "lucky" to have had an interesting life, and I don't see it as simply luck. I have taken some risks....put myself out there...paid my dues..... and sometimes have said "yes, I'll try that", when something may have seemed physically or emotionally frightening on some level. I do not believe that "luck" just finds us through the life adventure. I believe, in order to really explore, it helps to take the steps....put ourselves "out there".....say "yes" to life:>)