There is a lot to be said for the Irish proverb ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí - praise the youth and they will flourish’, especially in terms of medical education. As human beings, our brains are wired to respond positively to encouragement, boosting our mood and self-esteem (1). This may play a role in the evaluation we make of ourselves, making us feel more competent in our abilities and motivating us to reach our potential (2). Medical students, in my experience, commonly display perfectionistic personality traits. They set unrealistic standards and use negative reinforcement to aim for flawlessness. I, too, am guilty of this nature and get overwhelmed by the amount of information I need to learn, forgetting to reflect on what I already know or how far I have come.