Confucius said: “Perhaps there are people who can innovate without possessing the appropriate knowledge, but I am not one of them. I listen a lot and pick the best and follow it; I see a lot and take note of it: this is the best substitute for innate knowledge.”
There’s a very fine line between egotistical folly and towering genius. Confucius preferred to avoid it altogether by adopting a methodological “back to basics” approach to gathering knowledge rather than relying on his gut instinct.
To him, there were no short cuts to learning no matter how talented you happened to be.