Think it, build it, break it, repeat.
I'm a hands on designer who's been building and breaking since childhood. Luckily I've grown up and 'thinking' now includes CAD instead of crayons. 'Breaking' has turned to 'testing' where I learn something of value instead of simply enjoying the loud noises of things breaking. As much as I love the physical aspect of design, getting an AFA in industrial design invigorated my love of painting, rendering, and sketching. Now, doing my BS in industrial design at NJIT, I try to marry the necessary pen-on-paper and physical aspects of design by balancing the time between drawing and prototyping.