I am not sure on how I should put what I feel are my doubts in this thread, so I will start from the scratch, trying to give you the bigger picture. Obviously, I hope that's the right section of the forum. I had a mainly humanistic background. It means that I literally grow up spending my spare time mostly on novels, philosophical books and so on. This is what I would call my mothertongue: I feel language (not English, cause I am not a native English speaker) as most of you feel integrals and so on. At the same time I was always interested in maths, in particular in logic at the beginning, due to my philosophical interests. The interesting side is that, due to my stubbornness, an amazing interest and some peculiar choices (related to my interest in economics), my life (in terms of potential job and so on) came to be mainly math-oriented so to speak. The problem is that this is not my mothertongue, but instead it is a second language I gradually acquired with a lot of efforts and problems without having any help (I am completely self-thaught). So what I would like to find out is if my efforts on maths are basically doomed. Indeed, I have in particular two doubts (or problems): 1) I hardly remember mathematical things (concepts, structure and so on). Basically, I always need to start from the scratch. I always need to remember why something is something else and it seems I cannot impress it in my memory (at least that's my feeling - maybe I overemphasize it...), even things that I read many times. I understand them, I can explain them to anybody, I can apply them, but give me a month and I will have the feeling that I have forgotten them. They are somewhere, but I need an external input to remember them. So, is it a real problem? Interestingly, I have what can be considered a very good memory in almost any other field you can think about. I explain this lack of memory in maths with the fact that when I started to study it, I was focusing more on remembering than understanding (bad high school teachers), and that was a clearly idiotic choice (but nobody was there to give me decent advice). So I assume that at a certain point, when I decided to seriously studied it, I unconsciously (and smartly) bypassed memory in order to focus completely on comprehension. Just consider also that I think that to remember something, you need to express it and discuss it (it is a sort of active process) and having nobody to discuss about maths, I completely lack this part of the learning/memorizing process. Still the question stands: is it such a problem in terms of long-term studying (and career) project? 2) A bit more technical question. Let’s imagine that in an article to describe a certain economic structure an author uses Polish spaces. Now, I think “Ok, let’s figure out what Polish spaces are?”. So I find out that they are not present in the index of most of the topology or infinite dimensional analysis books I have. Then I find that they are in the middle of the second volume of Bourbaki’s Topology. The problem is: should I read the whole book? Can I really understand and use (!) something that comes to me out of nowhere simply cause I have read quickly the definition without deeply knowing most of the background? The point is: in fields in which math is ancillary, do you first get the idea and then translate it in mathematical terms trying to find out the most adequate one or you need to be a math-savant from the beginning? In other words, how can somebody who is not mathematically driven work backward to build up mathematical definitions? Moreover, is it possible? In a certain way I think that both questions drive towards the last on: should I pursue a career on economics (which is now strongly related to mathematics) if I am not completely trained in mathematics? Thanks a lot for any comment or feedback.