To the uninitiated it may seem romantic and sexy to be lost or isolated and have to survive on your whits and ingenuity. Using only the knowledge and skills that you have acquired over years of practice and training to maintain health and move back to civilization. The truth of the matter is that the true survivalist will have developed a mindset for predicting possible problems and make preparations to minimize the effects of a hazardous situation. This is not to say that they cannot be caught off guard, no one is perfectly prepared all the time. Even the most diligent prepper has an off day once in a while.
The ideal of being dropped off in the desert with an empty canteen and a knife to test your skills is absurd. The better way to approach that would be to go camping in the desert and practice those skills while you still have the means to back them up if they fail. I myself spend allot of time alone in the forest but I have learned that as a sole provider of a family of seven I would be stupid to not bring a backup. When I go out to the forest my pack always has too much stuff in it and I always carry a Spot II transmitter just in case I get into a situation that I cannot get out of without a helping hand. The spot also gives my wife a little piece of mind at night when she gets that email and text saying that I'm alright.
I have trained for survival in some pretty harsh environments around the world and I would not want to have to survive in any of them. From the frozen forests of Norway to the mean streets of LA I have tested my skills. In all cases I have prevailed but I have always had an emergency backup and a contingency plan. If you plan to go train for survival be smart about it, make a plan and have a backup. Running off to the wilderness with reckless abandon is not the way that professionals hone their craft. It is how amatures get themselves killed. So how then do you know when you are ready and able to survive? You can never truly be ready or you would not be in that situation. If nothing else, remember this, you will know that you are ready when you know from experience that you do not want it to happen to you.