I am looking for a phrase, word, or idiom to describe my current status in one scenario, which gave me the advantage in spotting a mistake and correcting it. I will give some example other than what we had in real:

  1. I carry out some mathematical calculations spanning into two pages.
  2. I end up with an impossible result, so I go back and check my steps.
  3. I fail to see my own mistake, so I call for help.
  4. Friend who came for help spots the mistake in a matter of seconds, which is immediately obvious to me as soon as it is pointed out.

Assume that my friend is not any more competent in mathematics than I am. The reason why my friend was able to spot the mistake I've made was, however counter-intuitive it is, that he was fresh in dealing with this problem and my mind was uncontrollably taking the shortcuts it had established in re-thinking this exact same problem.

I would use the phrase "foreign eye/perspective" to describe the quality my friend bears which allowed him/her to see what I couldn't. Unfortunately, no such phrase seems to be available in English.

If no such phrase or idiom is available, then the most concise way to put this would also be very appreciated.

  • 1
    Agreed with verbose. What you are experiencing in this situation is tunnel vision.
    – Null_Error
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:59
  • If you've paid for them to review your work, they might be a hired gun.
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


A common idiom for this situation is a fresh pair of eyes.


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