Survivalist Qualities: 4 Traits that Every True Survivor Must Have

What does it really take to survive?


When it comes to surviving a life-threatening disaster, it’s usually not the gear a person has with them that determines their ability to survive. In fact, when studying real-life survival situations, there is one thing that is found in just about every instance that cannot be overlooked — the will to survive. 

By far, willpower is often the single trait that will determine whether a person survives and thrives, or withers away into oblivion. But what other traits make a person a good survivalist? Are their things we can do to cultivate that personality and help ensure our success?

Are there certain traits that make one person more likely to endure hardships than the next? The following list looks at what it takes cultivate a survival mindset:

A True Survivalist Never Stops Learning

He is always asking questions, always looking for another way to prepare, and is always ready at a moment’s notice. The minute you think you know everything, is the moment you’ve become a danger to yourself and a danger to everyone around you.

  • Embrace the mind of a child. Children are always asking why; they always want to know how things work. Don’t lose that childlike curiosity, and don’t ever become rigid and complacent in your thinking.
  • Find a good teacher! Actors, athletes, and business leaders all have coaches and advisers. If these experts and industry leaders have coaches, then why shouldn’t you?
  • Pick up a book and read! If you can’t find a mentor, pick up a book! In one good book you have the ability to absorb the author’s entire life’s work. Want to get started, check out my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide.

A Survivalist knows that Practice Makes Perfect

Boiling Water over a fire practicing skills

Survivalists are always prepared, because they never stop testing themselves. They not only take the time to learn how to use their gear, but they also practice, practice and then practice some more.

A Survivalist Knows the Importance of a Healthy Mind

Guy at peace outdoors

The survivalist loves life; he knows the importance of cultivating a positive mental attitude. During a survival situation, your will to survive, is often what determines your final outcome. Those who really love life, are usually the ones who will fight the hardest to survive.

  • Survival, really being prepared to survive; means being able to control your fears, manage your emotions, and put your ego in check.  Check out our article on the Psychology of Survival
  • Emergencies can cause extreme amounts of physical and emotional stress. Understanding how to deal with this stress will help to reduce its impact, and can greatly increase your chances of survival during a disaster.
  • Surviving Traumatic Events starts with Developing the Right Mindset. Find out how to battle-proof your mind!

A Survivalist Knows he needs to Maintain a Healthy Body

Staying healthy hiking in the forest

Gear is great, but a healthy body is even better.

I often hear survivalists talking about all the gear they have; but what good is that gear if your body can’t even handle carrying it during an emergency?  To be a true survivalist, you have to take care of your body. Hike, run, lift weights; do whatever you can to stay physically fit. You’re the best piece of gear you have; you need to take care of your body!

What traits do you think is takes to survive any situation?

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  1. You forgot one, one that is the hardest to do. A survivalist doesn’t stand alone. He/she finds good friends he/she can trust and support. Who also prepare.

  2. being a survivalist is knowing when and how to take care of the situatins at hand . being able to leave everything behind and just go that means freinds and family if need be if there not ready when you are they get left its all about surviving whats happened or what going to happen and when you do go you need to trust everyone withyou race does not matter at that point being a well oiled machine does

  3. I’m preparing, somewhat have most of my gear. I’m always finding new stuff to add to my gear. I have a theory that, if your in a situation like the apocalypse. You can’t take everything with you, and yet you need as much to survive as you can carry. I’ve learned that smaller things tend to pack easier. More items also. If you have a pretty good sized pack, this works out great. I think most hunters, outdoorsman, hikers and the like will survive extremely well. People that aren’t accustomed to that lifestyle will suffer greatly. Luckily, I know how to fish, hunt, live off the land, build a shelter. I would not stay in the city. My ideal place would be the mountains, near a water source, where no one can find me. You have water, food, shelter supplies. No thugs, gangs, desperate people looking to work you over. I have friends who are ready to pull up and go at the drop of a dime. Sticking together will go a long way. If you ain’t got the heart, or mind capacity for this kind of endeavor your a lost cause.

  4. Look I keep myself busy by reading books and then going out and try out what I’ve learned from the book. What I found out was through trial and error I found out what worked and what didn’t. Hell I even learned some survival tips from some movies and they worked well enough. Never stop learning is the key.

  5. The Atlanta Metro area is not the ideal place to be when a bad situation ends up going further down the drain. You have to have a plan formulated to be able to “fort up” with other people that you can trust. (everybody has to sleep sometime)If you have a specific location to bug out to, you need to know when it’s time to go.If it does get to a “Mad Max” state of affairs, there will be brigand gangs roaming the country and the suburban areas looking to live off of what they can take from others.This is when the survival of the fittest comes down to who is not only fit, but smart as well.
    The most common answer I hear when asked “what will you do when the ballon goes up?” is, I’ll head for the woods / mountains where I can live off the land. That may work for an experienced or even novice camper, but what about the other 3/4 million people that think they can live off the land just like “that guy on television”?
    It’s alot to think about.

  6. The 4th trait listed is the reason 80-85% of preppers or survivalists will perish within the first week of any kind of serious shtf scenario. Don’t believe me? Just go to a gun show. I laugh at all the “knowledge” people think they have talking about gear and what they would do if such and such happened. What they fail to realize is they couldn’t walk a mile with their 60 pound bug out bag. Most of these type of people also like to talk about how much ammo and food they have stockpiled. That’s great, because I now have multiple re supply stations.
    It doesn’t matter how much ammo you have bought. It doesn’t matter how much food, water and toilet paper you have bought. If you aren’t proficient with your weapons, you’re a liability. If you aren’t in shape for your age, you are a liability. If you are serious about surviving anything, physical fitness has to become a lifestyle. It can’t be looked at like a chore or you will fail to do it at the slightest excuse. Stop whining and making excuses, the horde of ms-13 walking down your driveway coming to take your supplies and have their way with your women, does not care about why you can’t do PT. DO IT! All else will fall in line.

  7. And just one more…If you can’t adapt quickly to the changing environment, surroundings, events, situations etc….then all of the above doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. And yet all of the above can help you to adapt quicker!

  8. The prime reason some survive and some don’t is their base attitude. They haven’t given up hope, they expect to live.

    That said, in a real shtf scenario you would have to find the resolve to kill someone intent on killing you as quickly as possible. What will you use to defend your family or yourself if someone trying to do harm you’ve never imagined is right on you. Will your wife or girlfriend act to help You? Or, just watch and scream as someone kills you in whatever manner they chose?

    Also, the same places you picked to escape to are already picked out by 200 other people with your exact destination in mind. Finding places No one else hasn’t already been to would be a miracle in todays world.

    Find people to be with. Try not to be alone. Try being part of a team, but have the skills necessary to be alone if you have to be separated.

    Keep your eyes open. In the wild you will be seen by animals, predators – both two and four legged – and you may be watched from any and every hilltop. In a survival scenario, being seen is important. In a SHTF get out of Dodge scenario then being unseen becomes your focus. One is looking for help, the other is avoiding trouble.

    Good luck.


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