The Bucket List is a 2007 movie that starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and focused on living out the list of things they identified that they wanted to do before they died. While the story includes experiencing and checking off the adventures on the "before I die" list, it also provided great inspiration on how you should live.

There is a special scene in the movie where Freeman and Nicholson are talking about what it will be like to have a conversation with Saint Peter at the entrance to the gates of heaven.

Freeman believes there will only be two question about your life before the pearly gates open. Did you find joy? And, did you bring joy to others?

Here are 16 things people do to live joyful lives:

  1. Assume positive intent of others---Avoid interpreting the motives of others and telling yourself stories about why someone else is doing what they do. Simply assume positive intent.
  2. Cherish learning in success or failure---See failures as an Easter egg hunt of opportunity where each failure is a discovery that opens the door to a new and better way.  
  3. Don't wait for an apology to forgive---Forgiving someone that may not deserve it releases you of any negative relationship burden and instills a spirit on compassionate second chances.
  4. Listen to understand, not to respond---Listen to truly understand and develop a habit of asking at least 2 questions of clarity before presenting your point of view. It will change your perspective and cause collaborative thinking.
  5. Live an attitude of gratitude---Be grateful for what you have in your life now.
  6. Discover the positive---Avoid finding fault and start by focusing on the aspects of greatness that exist around you.
  7. Embrace the child within---Awe and wonder are the lens to rediscover the joy of a child and the priceless nature of simple pleasures.
  8. Seek the adventure---Identify the discomfort you want to embrace and go for it. Each adventure creates a new framework for the way you see the future.
  9. Ask the "what if"---Dream while you are awake and think about what you might create that does not yet exist and that you are passionate about.
  10. Don't compare yourself to others---Set your own PPR (personal performance record) and work to beat it separate from what others are doing or getting.
  11. Separate issues from individuals---Be respectful of people and hard on issues by separating the issues from the individual.
  12. Avoid judgment---The opposite of love isn't hate, it is judgment. You never know the full story behind another person's behavior and assume good, rationale reasons exist.
  13. From every problem develop a solution---For every complaint develop a recommendation, first for yourself and then for yourself and partners.
  14. Look for uncommon connections---Look for the combination of the uncommon. Right brain and left brain. Artist and analyst. A symphony and cartoons. Uncommon connections are the source of real breakthroughs.
  15. Lose yourself versus find it---The key is not to find yourself, but to lose yourself on a problem that has defied a solution, a cause you are drawn to, or an organization that you believe in.
  16. Hug adversity---Adversity is the feedstock for development and growth. Harmony and peace do not give birth to high performance. Every success story has an adversity mother that enabled greatness.

Do you find that you practice any of these ideals?  What do you do to live a happy life?

Published on: Jul 12, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.