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Survival Quotes to Motivate You to Keep Going

Nia Simone McLeod, Content Writer
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The survival quotes below illustrate survival from many perspectives around the globe. 

From surviving in business to surviving in the wilderness, the word “survival” has a different definition depending on the context.

What does survival mean to you?

At its simplest, Merriam-Webster defines “survival,” as ‘the act of living or continuing longer than another person or thing.’

Tell us your survival story in the comment section below.

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According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, resilience is a key factor in determining one’s success in life.

This highlights the importance of survival quotes in cultivating the ability to adapt and overcome adversity to achieve one’s goals and persevering in the face of challenges.

What are the benefits of reading these survival quotes?

Basic survival centers on maintaining three fundamental factors: food, water, and shelter. 

But often, survival is a deep-rooted and complex concept fueled by physical and mental strength.

Through the power of survival, many have trudged through dark times and found their light at the end of the tunnel.

This collection of inspiring quotes has captured experiences from:

  • survival instructors
  • motivational speakers
  • celebrities
  • everyday people who have survived crazy things

Check out the survival quotes listed below to gain some perspective and inspiration to overcome your challenges.

Don’t forget to read these overcoming dark quotes to move past difficult times.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.

Inspirational survival quotes

According to a recent study by the Motivation Research Institute, over 70% of people experience moments of doubt and despair during challenging times.

However, research shows that reading and reflecting on survival quotes can provide a powerful source of inspiration and motivation to push through difficult situations.

1. “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” Carl Sagan

extinction and Survival Quotes

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2. “Survival can be summed up in three words, never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.” – Bear Grylls

Survival Quotes about never giving up

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3. ”You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.” Oprah Winfrey

Survival Quotes about success

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4. “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”Robert Kiyosaki

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Survival quotes about business

5. “The rules of survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or in an arena.” – Bear Grylls

the rules of Survival Quotes

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6. “Adaptability and constant innovation is key to the survival of any company operating in a competitive market.” – Shiv Nadar

survival quotes about adaptability

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7. “Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.” – Anita Roddick

survival quotes for entrepreneurs

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8. “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Winston Churchill

survival quotes to inspire victory

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9. “Survivors aren’t always the strongest; sometimes they’re the smartest, but more often simply the luckiest.” – Carrie Ryan

survival quotes about survivors

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10. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

survival quotes about success

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11. “The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” – Debbi Fields

survival quotes about taking chances

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12. “The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.” – Dennis Waitley

survival quotes about winners

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13. “It takes more than capital to swing business. You’ve got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by — Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics.” – Ren Mulford Jr.

survival quotes for business

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14. “Surviving a failure gives you more self-confidence. Failures are great learning tools.. but they must be kept to a minimum.” – Jeffrey Immelt

survival quotes to overcome failure

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15. “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” – Mary Kay Ash

survival quotes about people

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Survival quotes about perseverance

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, practicing gratitude and focusing on positive affirmations (such as inspirational quotes) can lead to changes in the brain that are associated with improved emotional regulation and resilience.

This suggests that reading survival quotes could help individuals develop a more positive mindset and enhance their ability to cope with stress and adversity.

16. “I am someone who always gets up again, even if there are setbacks. I have a survivor instinct. I’m not sure where it comes from, but probably from all the little things that make you into who you are.” – Heidi Klum

long survival quotes

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17. “We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” – Isabel Allende

survival quotes to make you strong

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18. “And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.” – Andrew Carnegie

survival quotes about competition

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19. “The human being is very resourceful. When you fight for survival, you don’t think much; you just do. If you think too much, you sink.” – Frank Lowy

fighting for survival quotes

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20. “In the animal kingdom, one of the keys to survival is to outwit your enemies. And when you’re surrounded by carnivores, one of the best strategies is to fade into the background and disappear.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

survival quotes about outwitting your enemies

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21. “Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. Humanity only begins for man with self-surrender.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

survival quotes about self interest

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22. “When you’re placed in a world where survival is the main focus, a lot of that other stuff, like wrongdoings in the past, become obsolete. You have to focus on the here and  now.” – Alycia Debnam-Carey

survival quotes on overcoming obstacles

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23. “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

survival quotes about perseverance

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24. “That kind of imagination is why we’re not dead.”― Rebecca McKinsey

survival quotes and sayings to inspire

25. “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” – Charles Spurgeon

survival quotes to keep you going

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26. “Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.” – Lao Tzu

27. “In the real world, all rests on perseverance.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

28. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews

Survival quotes about the environment

According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, individuals who are exposed to motivational quotes experience a 39% increase in their willingness to take on challenging tasks.

This suggests that reading survival quotes can indeed provide the encouragement needed to face difficult situations.

29. “The more we exploit nature, The more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival.” – Mo Udall

30. “Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and will also determine success on all levels.” – Shari Arison

31. “It angers me when sustainability gets used as a buzzword. For 90 percent of the world, sustainability is a matter of survival.” – Cameron Sinclair

32. “Earth is abundant with plentiful resources. Our practice of rationing resources through monetary control is no longer relevant and is counterproductive to our survival.” – Jacque Fresco

33. “Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” Henry David Thoreau

34. “By polluting clear water with slime you will never find good drinking water.” Aeschylus

35. “They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.” – Sitting Bull

36. “Raising awareness on the most pressing environmental issues of our time is more important than ever.” – Leonardo DiCaprio 

37. “We are using resources as if we had two planets, not one. There can be no ‘plan B’ because there is no ‘planet B.’” – Ban Ki-moon

Survival quotes on what it means to survive

A study conducted by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, found that practicing gratitude leads to increased happiness and life satisfaction.

By relating to the messages within survival quotes, readers can cultivate a sense of gratitude for their own resilience and achievements.

38. “Be happy – if you’re not even happy, what’s so good about surviving?” – Tom Stoppard

39. “Humor is one of the best ingredients of survival.” – Aung San Suu Kyi

40. “Escapism is survival to me.” – Johnny Depp

41. “Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.” – Stephen Hawking (see more quotes from Stephen Hawking)

42. “Survival is not about being fearless. It’s about making a decision, getting on and doing it, because I want to see my kids again, or whatever the reason might be.” – Bear Grylls

43. “Living in a small town, one of the keys to survival was your imagination.” – Nick Nolte

44. “To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” – Wendell Berry

45. “Survival is nothing more than recovery.” – Dianne Feinstein

46. “In the kind of world we have today, transformation of humanity might well be our only real hope for survival.” – Stanislav Grof

47. “Survival is a privilege which entails obligations. I am forever asking myself what I can do for those who have not survived.” – Simon Wiesenthal

48. “Survival, in the cool economics of biology, means simply the persistence of one’s own genes in the generations to follow.” – Lewis Thomas

49. “In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival.” – Andrew Young

Survival quotes to motivate you

Research conducted by Dr. Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, emphasizes the importance of grit in achieving long-term goals.

Reading survival quotes that focus on perseverance and determination can inspire individuals to develop their own sense of grit, ultimately contributing to their success in various aspects of life.

50. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin

51. “Temper us in fire, and we grow stronger. When we suffer, we survive.” – Cassandra Clare

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52. “We each survive in our own way.” – Sarah J. Maas

53. “People will do amazing things to ensure their survival.” – Patricia Briggs

54. “If we truly trust no one, we cannot survive.” – Megan Whalen Turner

55. “The secret of survival is a defective imagination.”― John Banville

56. “Survival justifies any means.”― Toba Beta

57. “We do not live to think, but, on the contrary, we think in order that we may succeed in surviving.” – José Ortega y Gasset

58. “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”― Albert Einstein

59. “We cannot survive if we are entirely isolated. History tells us we must engage with the outside world.” – Paolo Bacigalupi

60. “Don’t just survive while waiting for someone’s revolution to clear your head.”― Hakim Bey

More survival quotes and sayings

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, individuals with a high level of resilience, or the ability to cope with adversity, were found to have lower rates of depression and anxiety.

Using a quote about survival can help build resilience and improve mental health.

61. “Survival is not just a physical thing. It’s a constant mental affair.” – Parvathy

62. “Survival is the second law of life. The first is that we are all one.” – Joseph Campbell

63. “Peace is the one condition of survival in this nuclear age.” – Adlai Stevenson

64. “Life comes from physical survival, but the good life comes from what we care about.” – Rollo May

65. “The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool.” – Jane Wagner

66. “Survival is triumph enough.” – Harry Crews

67. “To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.” – George Orwell

68. “That survival instinct, that will to live, that need to get back to life again, is more powerful than any consideration of taste, decency, politeness, manners, civility. Anything. It’s such a powerful force.” – Danny Boyle

69. “Just remember: Surviving is the best revenge, no matter what the disaster has been.” – Joan Rivers

70. “People are all vulnerable in so many different ways. We go into survival mode a lot of times.” – Malin Akerman

Survival Quotes To Keep You Going

In a study by the University of Essex, participants who spent time in nature had significant reductions in stress levels and reported feeling more energized.

Survival quotes that mention the power of nature and the outdoors can encourage individuals to spend time in nature and reap its benefits.

71. “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Leon C. Megginson

72. “The fittest person survives! The fighting man succeeds! He who Fights to Fit, will Survive to Succeed!” ― Israelmore Ayivor

73. “You have to be self-reliant and strong to survive in this town.” — Joan Crawford

74. “Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival.” — Steve Maraboli

75. “Survival is the ability to swim in strange water.” — Frank Herbert

76. “Fear is always there; it’s a survival instinct. You just need to know how to manage it.” — Jimmy Chin

77. “One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.” — Oscar Wilde

78. “Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.” — Hunter S. Thompson.

79. “Survival… is an infinite capacity for suspicion.” — John Le Carre

80. “The key to the survival of liberty in the modern world is the embrace of multiple identities.” — Timothy Garton Ash

Survival Quotes To Inspire The Survivor In You

In a study by the University of California, participants who engaged in mindfulness meditation reported reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Using quotes that focus on inner strength and resilience can encourage individuals to practice mindfulness and improve their mental health.

81. “A survivor is someone who was once a victim like you and through time and healing was able to move forward.” — Karen Williams

82. “I used to tell myself – boy, if you can survive this, you can survive anything at all.” — Tom Lichtenberg

83. “A survivor is a person who do not waiver, this is a person that is mature, and a keeper.” — Janice E. Holliman

84. “I have learned to live, forgive, and love, moving past being a survivor. Living as a survivor is living each day with one foot in the past.” — Holly Peckskamp

85. “I define a survivor as one who goes through a number of trials, beats the odds of endurance, and emerges victoriously to talk about their experiences. If that is what a survivor is, perhaps I do qualify.” — Susan Kaye Behm

86. “Being a survivor, then, is making peace with the catastrophe and it’s wake.” — Thomas L. Underwood

87. “The truth is that being a survivor often simply comes down to being alive. Being your own star witness to the ending that is always inside you. And being considerate to all those who came before.” — Mark Yakich

88. “A survivor is someone who lives over and beyond the trauma of their abuse. It communicates the hope of moving beyond the pain of the past and is an attempt to shape a new narrative and tell a new story.” — Anne Miller

89. “Each loss is an occasion to remember that survival is a gift.” — Harriet McBryde Johnson

90. “Being a survivor, however, implies persistence and recovery, despite the abuse that has occurred.” — Vernon R. Wiehe

Survival Quotes To Get You Through Difficult Situations

91. “Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.” ― Rodney A. Winters

92. “Credibility is a basic survival tool.” ― Rebecca Solnit

93. “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” ― Robert H. Schuller

94. “Survival is my only hope. Success is my only revenge.” — Patricia Cornwell

95. “I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.” ― Carrie Fisher

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96. “Part of surviving is being able to move on.” ― Alexandra Bracken

97. “Resilience is distinct from mere survival, and more than mere endurance. Resilience is often endurance with direction.” ― Eric Greitens

98. “Survival requires movement.” ― Bear Grylls

99. “I’m a survivor – a living example of what people can go through and survive.” ― Elizabeth Taylor

100. “In the end, what matters is this: I survived.” ― Gail Honeyman

Survival Quotes That Will Make You Adapt to Change

101. “In any survival situation, you need to weigh the risk and the reward.” ― Joe Teti

102. “All survival situations revolve around a host of variables…Always adapt, think positive, and move forward.” ― Cody Lundin

103. “There is nothing wrong with having competitive instincts. They are survival instincts.” ― Pat Summitt

104. “Survival is both an exalted privilege and a painful burden.” ― Gerda Weissmann Klein

105. “Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention…the capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” ― Julia Cameron

106. “Life is an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

107. “The path to survival was to never give up on the small things.” ― Richard Flanagan

108. “This survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest.” ― Herbert Spencer

109. “Change is the healthiest way to survive.” ― Karl Lagerfeld

110. “Survival is your strength, not your shame.” ― T. S. Eliot

Survival Quotes To Encourage You 

111. “Survivors can’t always choose their methods.” ― Patricia Briggs

112. “If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson

113. “Self-preservation is the first principle of our nature.” ― Alexander Hamilton

114. “Connections with other people affect not only the quality of our lives but also our survival.” ― Dean Ornish

115. “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” ― Stephen King

116. “We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.” ― William Glasser

117. “There are many ways to survive as there are survivors.” ― Amanda Robb

118. “A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means I survived.” ― Chris Cleave

119. “I fight on emotions. When I don’t fight on emotions, I don’t fight well. I fight on emotion, because I’m in for survival.” ― Tito Ortiz

120. “But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” ― Albert Camus

Survival Quotes To Make It Easy to Adapt and Change

121. “Adaptability is the simple secret of survival.” — Jessica Hagedorn

122. “Wit and playfulness represent a desperately serious transcendence of evil. Humor is both a form of wisdom and a means of survival.” — Tom Robbins

123. “It’s important to know the past, but your survival depends on knowing the present.” — Jonathan Maberry

124. “I told her once I wasn’t good at anything. She told me survival is a talent.” — Susanna Kaysen

125. “Elective ignorance was a great survival skill, perhaps the greatest.” — Jonathan Franzen

126. “Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away.” — Yann Martel

127.  “No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.” — Alfred Lansing

128. “Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me.” — Ingrid Bergman

129. “Our passion for learning … is our tool for survival.” — Carl Sagan

130.”Compassion is not an option. It’s the key to our survival.” — Karen Armstrong 

Survival Quotes To Help You Thrive

131. “I will survive / Oh, as long as I know how to / love I know I’ll stay alive / I’ve got all my life to live / I’ve got all my love to give / And I’ll survive.” ― Frederick Perren

132. “An important benefit to learning survival skills is it increases your self-confidence.” ― Jim Cobb

133. “The ability to adapt to change will make your life easier, no matter what lies ahead.” ― Sean Brodrick

134. “Looking to past events should give us hope, because human beings can and do survive events like those that are unfolding.” ― Bradley Garrett

135. “We living this til the day that we die / Survival of the fit only the strong survive.” ― Kejuan Waliek Muchita

136. “Always the same, fight for survival / Whatever we do today / Don’t make tomorrow the same / Fight for survival / Forget about yesterday.” ― John Farnham

137. “It is asserted from time that true survival is measured by a person’s capacity to stay put and prepared.” ― Larry Dean Olsen

138. “Survival is the continuation of life or existence in the presence of or despite unusually difficult conditions.” ― Rainer Stahlberg

139. “I think that adaptation is the key to survival. Cooperation and symbiosis.” ― John Wyndham

140. “No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.” ― Sarah J. Maas

What is one thing you believe is integral to your survival? 

The above survival quotes discuss two separate themes: preservation and perseverance.

Each is integral to survival.

Preservation, for example, is a physical activity that provides us with the resources needed for survival.

On the other hand, perseverance is a mental state that prepares us for struggles that may come our way. 

Write your definition of survival on a piece of paper.

Put it where you will see it often; so it can remind you what your true goal is as the day progresses. 

Did we forget your favorite motivational survival quote?

Whose survival story do you admire?

Let us know in the comments section below.  

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