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"Réduites à des théories générales, les mathématiques seraient une belle forme sans contenu." ("Reduced to general theories, mathematics would be a beautiful form without content.")
"I am convinced that the unwritten knowledge scattered among men of different callings surpasses in quantity and in importance anything we find in books, and that the greater part of our wealth has yet to be recorded."
"The kind of knowledge which is supported only by observations and is not yet proved must be carefully distinguished from the truth; it is gained by induction, as we usually say. Yet we have seen cases in which mere induction led to error. Therefore, we should take great care not to accept as true such properties of the numbers which we have discovered by observation and which are supported by induction alone. Indeed, we should use such discovery as an opportunity to investigate more exactly the properties discovered and to prove or disprove them; in both cases we may learn something useful."
-- Leonhard Euler
$\bullet$ Do many calculations.
$\bullet \bullet$ Ask yourself concrete questions whose answer is a number.
$\bullet \bullet \bullet$ Learn a reasonable number of formulas by heart.
$\bullet \bullet \bullet \bullet$ Beware the illusion that nice general theorems are the ultimate goal in your subject.
Shut up and calculate! (Source.)