We have heard the instructional cry most of our lives, summoning us to become our brother’s keeper.
In other words, protect others so that they don’t harm themselves.
The late economist Dr. Walter Williams emphasized the importance of respecting private property rights, which he believed applied to the right of individuals to choose what they will with their bodies.
Dr. Williams said:
In a free society, each person is their private property; I own myself, and you own yourself. That’s why it’s immoral to rape or murder. It violates a person’s property rights. The fact of self-ownership also helps explain why theft is immoral. In order for self-ownership to be meaningful, a person must have ownership rights to what he produces or earns.
So, how does one balance the call to protect others from themselves with unsolicited advice versus the private property rights of the individual?
For INTJ personalities, the answer is clear. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.
As problem solvers, INTJs might assume decision-making responsibilities that may not be theirs primarily because of their intellectual prowess and high levels of accountability.
Consequently, INTJs should not give unsolicited advice to mentally competent people because these individuals have a right to make their own choices despite the consequences. To do otherwise is an infringement upon their private property rights.
And this applies equally to family and friends.
Sharon Martin, a licensed clinical social worker, said:
Repeatedly giving unsolicited advice can contribute to relationship problems. It’s disrespectful and presumptive to insert your opinions and ideas when they may not be wanted. Unsolicited advice can even communicate an air of superiority; it assumes the advice-giver knows what’s right or best.
However, career change consultant Joseph Liu said:
…There can actually be value in accepting the advice people offer…People may be able to spot something you can’t spot yourself. That may be a different perspective that could help open your eyes to something new. That at least considering someone’s advice may benefit you in some small way.
As an INTJ who has dabbled on both sides of the fence, I only give advice when asked.
In my evolution, I realized two things:
1. I was satisfying my ego and justified it by helping; and
2. I was enabling laxity and codependence by helping others when they were capable of helping themselves.
A good example was providing unsolicited advice within gym settings. Invariably, a new face would stroll around the complex attempting to understand the benefits and mechanics of the various types of equipment.
What equipment developed on which part of the body?
Seeing the perplexity on their faces, I would merely start explaining what the equipment was used for—no introductions or permission. I just dove in.
They could have quickly asked a personal trainer or the fitness consultant who signed them up for advice.
But I co-opted the moment for my aggrandizement.
Left to their devices, people generally find their way.
How do I know?
Because the older people get, the less advice they appear to ask for.
When I was younger, my phone would often ring with people seeking my advice and opinions. As I got older, the phone rang less to the point that it rarely rings now.
Generally, people figure it out and find their way.
And they call when they need something.
Become a thought leader
Dr. Walter Williams’ notion that our bodies are our private properties settles the idea of inflicting information on others without being invited.
People’s desire for knowledge is proportionate to their intellectual curiosity and mental acuity.
Consequently, instead of trespassing on the rights of others, establish yourself as a thought leader by providing specialized information.
In today’s society, everything starts with the internet.
Individuals can find almost any information at the stroke of a keyboard.
As a thought leader, you become a trusted advisor for those seeking your advice and insight.
Denise Brosseau of Thought Leadership Lab said:
Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas, turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.
Over time, they create a dedicated group of friends, fans, and followers to help them replicate and scale their ideas into sustainable change not just in one company but in an industry, niche, or across an entire ecosystem.
Based on the intellectual hardwiring of INTJs, thought leadership is within their wheelhouse.
Becoming a thought leader is the best way of doing good and well simultaneously.
INTJs can transform their inclination towards solitude, data accumulation, and analysis into bodies of work that favorably influence society.
In this regard, advice is not unsolicited; it is sought-after.
Blair Nicole of Social Media Today said:
Providing people with valuable, accurate information on a consistent basis earns you credibility and rapport. Your peers will respect you for this, making them more likely to help you in any way that they can. Your customers will also trust you and feel like you’ve given them something of value, making them more likely to choose your business over a competitor.
INTJs who opt to benefit the world by sharing highly evolved insights are doing what profits the world most.
Are we our brother’s keeper?
In a free society, people must learn how to self-govern by asking for the necessary tools for self-efficacy.
To do otherwise places an undue burden on responsible individuals and society at large.
—Joan R. Lindstrom
Brosseau, D. (n.d.). What is a thought leader? Thought Leadership Lab. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3DrbpRj.
Liu, J. (2017, July 12). The benefits of taking unwanted advice. Medium. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/38moX26.
Martin. S. (2020, Feb. 27). It’s time to stop giving unsolicited advice. Psych Central. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3yms8BL.
Nicole, B. (2017, Aug. 31). 5 key benefits and considerations of thought leadership. Social Media Today. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/2Y2flaV.
Williams, W.E. (2005, Aug. 3). Walter E. Williams: Property rights enmeshed with civil and human rights. Deseret News. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/2WEAasF.