Ivan Sutherland, winner of the ACM Turing award, is a noted entrepreneur and researcher in the field of computer graphics. I highlight a few interesting points from his essay here. I'd have to write down the whole essay here before I can do it justice and so I highly recommend you read it on your own (again, you can download it here).
- There are several ways of mitigating research risk and entrepreneurial risk. One effective ways is writing things down e.g. a thesis outline or a business plan. This brings up some concrete future plan - one that you may not follow - but something to bolster courage and start working toward a goal
- Being ignorant of the risks is good, at least in the beginning, because then you try to solve problems deemed "hard" or "unsolvable" - this is where young researchers have an advantage over their experienced counterparts
- If you aren't failing sometimes you are not doing challenging things
- Teamwork is important in research as it is in starting up new businesses
- Hiding an idea by not getting it published because you are unsure of its merit is foolish because you'll never be sure if you did the right thing; science and technology has progressed at this remarkable pace in recent times only because people risked their reputations by working on ideas deemed "risky" at the time
- Overcome the fear of starting a new research problem or a new start-up company by breaking down a big problem into many smaller sub-problems.
- Doing familiar, low-risk things instead of trying to do genuine new stuff - like starting a company or new thread of research - may seem easier but remember the opportunity cost of doing something inane instead of investing your time and resources in the new stuff that may have a much higher payback