This is the time of year when people are contemplating life changes and/or changes in direction--grad school or no grad school, taking a year off, quitting the job in favor of going back to school, things like that. I was just reading a riff on risk from a prominent surgeon who is called upon to make life-or-death decisions virtually every day in his work. This individual always asks himself these four questions before proceeding:
What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?
What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
What is the best thing that can happen if I don't do this?
What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't do it?
You will notice that most of these questions lead to doing whatever it is you are reluctant, or afraid, to do, so if you are looking for courage or support in taking a risk, or going out on a limb, take a copy of these questions and block out some answers...
p.s. one of my graduate advisers, the late, great Robert Francis Byrnes, always told people to "do what you are afraid to do." That's pretty good advice, too, and good practice.