I look at it a different way. The directions should be considered as a tool in your toolbox. Depending on what task is at hand, you may or may not want to use the tool. For example, the instructions that come with a laptop computer aren't even worth the seconds it would take to read them. But what about the API specification for Java? That too is a type of "directions", and you would be a complete fool to write a program without them.
Back in the day, I worked with an outstanding programmer who refused to read development-system (or other) manuals. Reason: he wanted to play around with the product and user interface, to get a gut feel of what the development-system designers were thinking, how they appoached their design, what they set it up internally. Basically, he was trying to get into their heads. That way when he ran into a problem, he could figure out what was really happening and work-arounds. And the technique often worked.