Embracing The ‘No Mas’ Moments in Life
Roberto Duran, famed Panamanian pugilist and arguably one of the best boxers of all time, is widely known for his “Manos de Piedra” or “Hands of Stone” and intense brawling skills. But what he became most famous for, in the boxing world and beyond, was the fight he bowed out of before it even finished.
In a move that would ultimately ostracize him from fans, colleagues, and his own countrymen, Duran made history on November 25, 1980 by turning away from his opponent after the eighth round in a 15-round fight and walking out of the ring.
Not because he was hurt. It’s been said it was because of pride. But I’d like to posit the theory that walking out of a fight he shouldn’t have taken on in the first place is perhaps the best thing he could have done – for himself, his family, and his career. And we could all learn a little something from this for the prize bouts in our own life.
While Duran maintains he never actually uttered the words he became famous for, “No More” is still essentially the attitude that his actions conveyed as he ceased fighting during the much insisted upon rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard.
And recently, as I watched the notorious moment play out in the movie Hands of Stone, I couldn’t help but to think – “Good for you, Roberto. You’re right… ‘No Mas.’”
We all reach those moments in our lives. Pushed to the limits. Spinning out in our own galaxy. Galloping from one achievement to the next, grasping for the next goal before we’ve even had a moment to savor the one in our hands.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of our own lives. And it’s heavily frowned upon to take a break at any time, let alone walk out of the middle of a competition to do so. But sometimes, perhaps that’s exactly what we need to do.
To say “No Mas” to the infinite loop of goal getting. To say “No Mas” of constantly replying yes to things that we’re not really sure we want to do. To say “No Mas” to being the puppet in someone else’s show.
There is no harm in taking a moment to center ourselves. There is no danger in taking our time to plan the next goal or challenge. There is no shame in simply wanting to enjoy what we’ve already worked so hard to achieve.
Ultimately, Duran couldn’t stay out of the ring. Boxing was his love, his passion, his vocation in this life. And stepping out on that misguided rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard wasn’t a signal that he was done forever, simply that he just needed to take a step back.
And when he stepped back in, less than a year later but with proper training and preparation, Duran’s fighting style proved as ferocious as ever – culminating in a career that boasts over 100 wins with more than half of those by way of knockout.
The takeaway – you don’t have to give up your passion in order to give yourself permission to prepare. Knowing your own limits isn’t a sign of weakness. And if you’ve pushed yourself to the point where you need to say “No Mas” to something – even amidst the heat of a battle – well, there’s no shame in that either. Having the courage to say “No Mas” from time to time can ultimately create a life of much more.