You've probably heard the phrase "think long term" so often that it's become a cliché. Don't let familiarity breed contempt, though. A long-term perspective in investing can make the difference between success and failure.

There are plenty of stocks that hold the potential to be winners over the long term. However, some especially stand out because of their exceptional risk-reward profiles. Here are three such growth stocks that could set you up for life.

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1. MercadoLibre

E-commerce will increase in importance. Cash will increasingly give way to digital payment methods. The Latin American economy will expand along with its burgeoning middle class. These are easy predictions to make that have a high probability of coming true. MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) is one company that's set to profit from each of these trends.

Some have called MercadoLibre the "eBay of Latin America." Others dubbed the company the "Amazon.com of Latin America." Both comparisons have merit. But MercadoLibre's business model has its own unique twist.

The company dominates the Latin American e-commerce market. It also offers logistics services to businesses in the region. Its payments platform, including digital wallets, is growing in popularity. So is its credit business that provides loans to merchants and consumers. 

E-commerce market penetration in Latin America is expected to double by 2025 and continue to grow for decades to come. MercadoLibre's fintech opportunity could be even greater. This stock could deliver a 10X return with the tailwinds at its back.

2. Nvidia

Some companies receive accolades that they really don't deserve. But when my Motley Fool colleague Trevor Jennewine recently wrote that Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) is one of the top companies shaping the future of technology, I agreed 100%.

Nvidia is best known for its graphics process units (GPUs) that power video games. However, the company now makes nearly as much money from selling GPUs for use in data centers. Both areas should continue to be major growth drivers for Nvidia.

The company also has a big opportunity in the self-driving car market. Nvidia isn't just a chipmaker. It has also developed software on top of its chips to create a platform specifically designed for autonomous vehicles. 

Then there's the most potentially disruptive arena of all -- the metaverse. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang thinks the metaverse economy could eventually be bigger than the economy of the physical world. And Nvidia's technology is poised to provide the foundation for the metaverse. 

Don't fret that Nvidia already has a market cap of close to $760 billion. This stock still has plenty of room to run.

3. Intuitive Surgical

I'd nominate Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) to any list of the top companies shaping the future of healthcare. Intuitive single-handedly pioneered the robotic surgical systems market. And it's in the strongest position to take robotic surgical technology to the next level.

Intuitive actually doesn't have to advance the technology one bit to have a big growth opportunity. The company estimates that there are 6 million procedures performed each year for which it already has products and the necessary regulatory clearances. That's roughly five times the number of procedures for which its robotic systems were used last year. 

The company also stands to benefit from demographic trends. The populations of major countries across the world are aging. This will almost certainly drive demand for the surgical procedures for which Intuitive's systems are used the most right now.

However, Intuitive is advancing robotic surgical systems technology. It believes there are 20 million soft-tissue surgical procedures performed annually that it can target with new products and clearances. Intuitive Surgical is worth around $125 billion today. I think it could be a $1 trillion-plus company in the future.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.