NDTV: What do you say to someone who says, that is quite common, I hate maths?
Prof Bhargava: That means he didn't learn in the right way
NDTV: Right, right...
Prof Bhargava: It's interesting that its okay in society to say that, because maths is so fundamental and yet people can be proudly saying oh I always hated mathematics. Can you imagine people saying I hated to learn, to read? People don't say that, right? I think that needs to change. You know maths is just fundamentals, reading, you shouldn't hate it. You should find the better way to learn it. Even being proud of illiterate, the same relates to being proud of not knowing maths. That's my feeling.
Stop convincing yourself math is boring/hard/useless/not for you/...
Do not fool yourself into believing that you've understood something which you've not, at least not completely.
Play some games that are not entirely based on physical skills. Wonder about and analyse the game. Think about it's complexity. Are there any strategies to solve them? Are they similar to some other games in some way?
Solve or try to solve some puzzles that are not entirely based on physical skills. A puzzle is a game with a dominant strategy. Analyse the puzzle. Can you tell how to always solve it? Under what conditions is the puzzle solvable?
Wonder about interesting problems involving numbers, structures or patterns. Think about them. Time spent thinking on a problem is always contributing towards solving the problem.
Find out about amazing and fascinating predictions of math. Read or find out about hyperspace, infinity, computability, etc. Think about them. Try imaginaning your own surreal universe.
Look at the aesthetic side of Mathematics. Notice how mathematics treats things symmetrically. Wonder what makes formulae easy to remember. Think about how mathematics elegantly models the reality or at least offers simplicity to deal with.
Get a computer. Install a computer algebra system. Install Geogebra. Learn programming. Find out if there are problems which you'd not want to solve by hand but by a computer. What makes the problem easier to solve with a computer?
Read accounts of popular mathematics, biographies of mathematicians, history of mathematics, old unsolved problems.
Critically think about Art/Music/Dance/Sports/etc - the one of your choice. Notice the patterns and the structures they exhibit. Do you know what patterns would not look good if replaced in a particular instance of one of the above? Find out and learn about Fractals, procedurally generated music, etc.
Join a mathematics forum. Maybe Brilliant, or something else. Talk with a lot of other people about life, the universe and math. Talk about the things above.
Notice patterns in nature, human behavior and yourself. Notice how things are connect to each other. Try predicting things. Locate where patterns repeat themselves.
Jump about and connect ideas from one discipline to other. Try breaking rules all the time and check out things for yourself.
Suspect things. Ask why. Ask yourself if something is too vague a statement. Wonder if sentences can be rephrased to mean something less obvious. Try thinking of ways to define stuff.
Take introductory courses on or otherwise read about advanced mathematical topics that interest you. The idea that mathematics can be arranged as a series of ideas each harder than the preceeding is not exactly true.
Take courses in or otherwise learn about fields with heavy application of Mathematics. This might include Cryptography, Theoretical Computer Science, Operations Research and of course Physics.
Learn about some mysterious and semi-mysterious like logic, philosophy and psychology. Wonder about them. Can you relate math to these?
[The above might not be a comprehensive or correct list. You may add your own points or make your own list. Also suggest points in the comments.
Republished from Agnishom's answer to How do I cure my math inertia ]