What personal traits help you survive a disaster?

While you can’t stop a disaster from happening, you can prepare for it. You most likely think about making sure your 72-hour food kit is well stocked, procuring all-in-one gadgets, and replenishing essential first-aid supplies. Being physically prepared with these items is important, but having the right mindset is just as or more important.

In 2020, there were roughly 8,100 fatalities reported caused by natural disaster events worldwide. Certain people seem to have a natural ability to survive no matter what. Here are a few amazing survivors of unusual natural disasters:

The Queen of the Sea was a Sri Lankan train hit by an enormous wave caused by the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. All eight carriages were instantly flooded and flung off of the tracks with incredible force. Daya Wijaya Gunawardana, a restaurateur, miraculously survived when the coach flipped over four times. It was one of the worst railway disasters in history.

Ewa Wisnierska was involved in a deadly ordeal when she got sucked into a cloud while paragliding. An updraft suddenly grabbed her glider and shot her upward at 66 feet per second. Ice and darkness blinded her, while rain, hail, and turbulence made it impossible to navigate. She suffered from oxygen deprivation and cold. Struggling with her sight and frozen body, she still managed to land safely on a farm. She suffered severe frostbite and bruises but survived.

In 2009, Rachael Shardlow went for a swim in Australia’s Calliope River. Her brother, Sam, quickly pulled her from the water as he could see that long tentacles were wrapped around her legs. Those tentacles belong to the most venomous animal on the plant: the box jellyfish. Nobody in recorded history has been stung so severely by box jellyfish and lived.

In 1942, park ranger Roy Sullivan found himself on the receiving end of a lightning bolt no less than seven times. He is listed in the Guinness World Record for surviving more lightning strikes than anyone else.

You may have heard about other people who experienced horrible disasters and should have died from their experience but had the fortitude to deal with and ultimately conquer what seemed to be an impossible predicament.

What qualities will help you survive a disaster?

Ability to stay calm.

When you are calm, you can think clearer. High emotions and panic will cloud your judgment. You need to develop critical thinking to be able to make good decisions. Also, when your adrenaline is high, it is physically and mentally challenging to deal with threatening events and circumstances.

The ability to make a plan, and also a backup plan

People who have the discipline and take the time to make a plan, stay organized and work towards a goal are better positioned when a disaster strikes. Also, have a backup plan just in case.

Common Sense

This trait is lacking in our modern world. The opposite of having common sense is being ignorant. Common sense is the action you would take in a situation or the method you would use to perform a task. The key reason why we perceive so many people as having no common sense: they excel at different things than us.

Thinking outside of the box

Most people accept the rules placed upon them by others, but those with the ability to think outside the box do not necessarily accept those restrictions. They might question, bend, or break the rules if they do not make sense to them.


Foresight is a combination of knowledge, experience, and situational awareness. A deep understanding of an overall situation provides better intuitional foresight of a potential disaster.


To adapt, you must improvise, use critical thinking, and have a “can-do” attitude. It is also called “thinking on your feet.” The better you adapt to new circumstances and environments, the higher are your chances to survive. You need to be flexible and change plans according to unexpected scenarios.

A Will to Survive

Without a will to survive, pretty much nothing else works. It is a fundamental and highly general trait and takes a strong will to survive when the going is extremely tough. Some give up while others press on and live.