Work like you don't need the money; dance like no one is watching; sing like no one is listening; love like you've never been hurt; and live life every day as if it were your last.I basically view my research program this way now. I met with a senior colleague recently who started to dispense the "play it safe until you're tenured" advice, then stopped themselves midstream and said, "Actually, if you play it safe you probably won't get tenure."
I think the game is all about finding exciting problems to work on and having the motivation to work on them (and getting students excited about working on them). It's also about aligning yourself to what people want to fund. We certainly seem to be in an era of applied research being popular - which is great for most computer scientists, though I do feel bad for my colleagues in theoretical fields.
Still, I think it's possible to be well-aligned with the desires of funding agencies and administrators while also pursuing dangerous ideas. It's all about spin.