This month's issue of The Scientist has a great quote. It is now one of my favorite quotes. I might even print and hang it on my wall.
—Neurosurgeon and former NASA researcher Mark Wilson, speaking about the future of emergency medicine on the Imagine the Future of Medicine blog (March 28)
Do difficult research—it’s where the true answers lie. When doing research, don’t look where everyone else is. You’ll just confirm their findings. Look along the untrodden path going the wrong way—that’s where the unimaginable, disruptive, game-changing discoveries are.
I think it is really important to take the risk and go for challenging projects instead of repeating other people's work over and over again or doing derivatives of other people's projects. Of course it is important to contribute other people's findings. Your results might support them or maybe you will prove them to be wrong. But, I still believe that the greatest joy in science is to be the one doing something unique, to be a leader in your field/project. Of course it is very risky to be one of the first in that specific research area, but I think the rewards are worth taking the risk.