I keep hearing even by very brilliant Engineering co-students that they require a lot of text-based theory before going into numbers. However, there is also a good deal of good Mathematicians that state they can think in numbers, requiring theory, but not strictly in a text form, or at least an extensive one. So, how can one go about in order to start thinking in numbers, having as a base the minimal required studying of theory? Is it only a matter of just paying more attention to it at the initial steps and not rely solely on later friction with practice, or is it a generally different state of mind? I wait for your opinions. Even if they are not targeted and go beyond the field slightly, they're welcome. edit: 'Numbers' is loosely used to mean also Mathematics.