Yes, optimism about the future is a high expectation, but it is so nonspecific that it cannot be voided by actual circumstance. The optimist believes that “things” will turn out for the “best.” Such a prediction is so general that virtually any outcome will fulfill it. Indeed, optimism is not dependent on actual outcomes at all. No matter how things go, the optimistic prediction always comes true!
A person with high expectations, for example, thinks “I’ve got to get that promotion, or I’ll be a miserable failure.” The person high in optimism thinks, “Whether or not I get that promotion, things will work out for the best.”
The person with high expectations, says, “I won’t ever be happy unless I get into Medical School.” The optimist says, “No matter whether I get into Medical School or not, I’m going to be happy.”
The person with high expectations believes, “If I can’t marry Pat, my life will be a tragedy.” The optimist believes, “Whether Pat marries me or not, life will be okay.”
Optimism is, apparently, an expectation that is not tied to specific outcomes. Optimism is a flexible expectation — it is a blanket which covers any eventuality with a positive spin. Optimism, therefore, provides the freedom for an individual to transcend the actual events of life. It severs the connection between the happenstance of life and the happiness one can potentially experience. An optimistic expectation about the future is always fulfilled, thus the luck and chance of life’s occurrences come to loose their grip on our happiness.
Ultimately, an optimistic perspective is real freedom from from the unhappy twists and turns of life. If one can truly believe that “things always turn out for the best,” or that “every cloud has it’s silver lining,” or any of the other old homilies which stress an optimistic view of events, one can find happiness in any circumstance.