Originally Posted by UncleFluffy
Yes and no. Math - or at least using it - is mainly pattern matching. My experience was that progress was far less smooth than for other subjects ... nothing for a while, then a big discontinuity when a new pattern clicks inside your head. The stubbornness is necessary for any subject, but the "beating your head against a wall that eventually falls down" part is pretty math-specific and if you don't expect it can be very dispiriting. (For me at least. YMMV. Standard disclaimers apply.)
There's also a negative side to it.
Actually, pattern matching does a pretty good job of describing school math, but not how math is used in real life. That's a shortcoming of how math is taught, in my view. I use math regularly in my day job, for instance to develop algorithms.
At the same time, a lot of creative fields have a pattern matching aspect. How about music? Consider the time we spend internalizing scales, chords, etc., so we can recognize them while we are playing.
Algebraic manipulation pervades almost all of math, even when we let computers do it nowadays. It's something that has to become instinctive, like knowing your way around the fretboard. Otherwise it will be a perpetual struggle. And nobody really knows how to teach algebraic manipulation except by letting you practice it a lot.