The Henry Rollins Method to Saying Yes to Opportunity

What do you do when an opportunity presents itself? Do you analyze its pros and cons until you’re exhausted?

What if you were in a situation where the future looked dim? Where you know exactly where you were going. . . Nowhere. That is until you have a chance to say yes to an opportunity. It doesn’t matter what the opportunity is. All it is is the chance to give you hope for a brighter future.

Saying yes to opportunity requires no skill. It doesn’t require an MBA, five years of relevant work experience or begging money from potential investors.

It requires showing up and courage.

henry rollins method yes opportunity 2

We shouldn’t know who Henry Rollins is. It shouldn’t be a name that bears any significance. Rollins had a rough life in his early years. He was sexually assaulted and suffered from depression and low self-esteem. He was on Ritalin from pre-school to his teenage years. He had a dismal relationship with his father, was kicked out of a few schools and was an awful student.

He dropped out of college after one semester and pursued a career in minimum wage jobs. The height of his career before he became Henry Rollins was when he was head manager at a Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop in Washington D.C.. This was in 1981, where he was making the current day’s wage of approximately $10.50/hr, working 40–60 hours a week.

He was on his way to a hard-working, minimum wage life. A small life. A life of taking shit from a lot of people.

Saying Yes

Try saying “yes” to as many offers and opportunities as possible. The goal is not to be a “yes man”, but to be open and courageous enough to accept opportunities that lie outside of your comfort zone. —Patricia Ryan Madson

1981 was his year, though. It was his year of opportunity. It was the year the story of Henry Rollins began. A series of events took place in his life that I found very interesting.

These series of Yes events required him to show up. It required a great amount of courage.

Yes #1 His favorite band Black Flag was playing in New York. While Rollins lived in Washington D.C., he hopped on a train and went up to New York to watch the band he deeply loved.

Yes #2 He hopped on stage during the show and sang a song with the band.

Yes #3 Impressed with Rollins’ performance, the band invited him to audition for the lead singer spot after the former lead singer stepped back. This was the biggest Yes he had to make.

I looked at the ice cream scoop in my hand, my chocolate bespattered apron, and my future in the world of minimum wage work.

Yes #4 He risked missing a day of work, which can be expensive when working minimum wage.

Yes #5 He risked putting himself out there in front of his favorite band, risking utter humiliation if he failed.

Yes #6 He quit his managerial job at Häagen-Dazs, sold his beat-up car, moved to Los Angeles and became the vocalist for Black Flag.

Rollins claims he won the lottery. Without a doubt did he win the lottery. He was extremely lucky. He was also opportunistic and courageous. He created his own luck by showing up. By taking several leaps of faith.

This is why you know who Henry Rollins is. Not Henry Rollins the ice-cream scooper. Henry Rollins the musician, actor, tv and radio host, comedian, and writer.

All because he said yes to opportunity.

Image credit: The Washington Times


  1. He’s a fascinating individual for sure. I really enjoy listening to him talk.

    • Agreed. Knew about him as a musician but that’s about it. Recently heard him on Joe Rogan’s podcast and had to find out more. Very eccentric character.

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