When we do worse than expected, we seem to criticize the situation. Intimately, we have a hunch about what went wrong, but refuse to accept or consider it. Instead, we blame the situation, the people around us, the weather.

Anything but ourselves.

But just focusing on our actions for a moment, can teach us how we act in similar situations. On the contrary, if we conclude there isn't much we could do, we shouldn't worry. Just move on and do our best next time.

Exams are a perfect example.

A lot of time goes into studying in a certain way. But on the exam, we're faced with the pressure of the situation and ourselves. Am I just going to fail after so much studying? If it doesn't go as expected, we search for excuses in the curriculum, exam questions and professors. That might just as well be true.

Yet, we can't affect them. The best thing to do is to search what we did wrong and do better on the next one.

Making ourselves accountable faces us with reality and a chance to do better next time. Making the situation accountable, doesn’t.