The stock market is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. The best chance for investing success involves a long-term mindset, the actual long term, and aiming high but having reasonable goals. It's not easy to outperform the market, especially in the long term. But it can be done.

Contrary to what you might think, the best chance of achieving high returns is by investing in great companies you already know. That might sound boring, but we're talking about achieving wealth, not trinkets. Yes, some growth stocks will supply astronomical gains, and investors are wise to choose a select group after careful assessment. But a properly diversified portfolio also abounds with blue chip winners that have outperformed the market and will continue to do so.

Consider Nike (NYSE: NKE), Home Depot (HD -1.56%), and Costco Wholesale (COST -0.82%). Each of these stocks has turned $10,000 into $50,000 over the past 10 years -- even more with dividends -- almost double the gains of the S&P 500.

HD Chart
Data by YCharts.

Invested even earlier, that same $10,000 would be worth much, much more. And consider that 10 years ago, these were already well-established winners, not new and risky growth stocks. Plus, each still offers the chance to do it again.

1. The unrivaled leader in athletic wear

Nike enjoys an extreme lead in its industry, with more than double most of its top competitors' revenue, including Adidas, Lululemon Athletica, Skechers, and Under Armour combined.

NKE Revenue (TTM) Chart
Data by YCharts.

Business remains strong despite the pressured macro environment, and it would be difficult for any of these competitors to pose any serious threat to Nike's dominance.

In the 2023 first fiscal quarter (ended Aug. 31), sales increased 4% over last year. On a currency-neutral basis, that jumps to 10%.

Nike was one of the first companies to warn investors about supply chain problems just over a year ago, and it took quick strategic action to manage under the stress. But really, it prepared to get through this much earlier when it shifted its focus to a digital-first approach combined with a direct-to-consumer strategy. By strengthening its customer relationships, it has generated loyalty and bolstered its brand. As a result, there's every reason to be confident that it can continue to drive high sales for many years.

Nike also pays a growing dividend. It's an excellent stock for dependable growth.

2. Leading an industry that's always growing

Home Depot is the largest home improvement chain in the world, with more than 2,300 stores across North America and $157 billion in trailing 12-month revenue. It has demonstrated resilience after pandemic-fueled soaring sales, maintained steady growth despite inflation, and faced high comparable-store sales from the pandemic.

It posted a 4.3% year-over-year increase in comps in the 2022 third quarter and an 8.2% increase in earnings per share. Those results exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

Home Depot employed a strategy similar to Nike's, developing a robust omnichannel network before the pandemic that prepared it to post strong performance throughout and beyond. It revamped its digital presence and expanded its capabilities, especially the fusion between digital and physical. It has also invested in distribution networks to get more products to more shoppers faster.

Although home sales have been wrecked this year, which could negatively affect home product sales, Home Depot's merchandise is still moving. In this kind of environment, homeowners who are staying put invest in making their abodes more livable.

Home Depot is an evergreen stock with a compelling growth strategy. It also pays a growing and high-yielding dividend that yields 2.3% at the current price.

3. Rock-bottom prices drive volume in any economy

Costco has been the holdout among supermarket chains that have been reporting falling growth recently. But it, too, succumbed to inflationary pressures in the 2023 first fiscal quarter (ended Nov. 20); comps increased 6.6% after two years of double-digit growth. Profitability remained strong, with EPS increasing from $2.98 to $3.07.

Costco's product markups are very low, resulting in narrow gross margins. But the low prices, combined with loyalty-inducing membership fees, drive high volume. Costco has managed some of its supply chain issues with more direct control of the chain, sending costs lower, although it is winding some down now that those lanes are opening up. It has leverage either way that it uses to its own and its customers' advantage.

Costco often shines when the economy is pressured, but it chugs out steady growth under most conditions. It also has plenty of opportunities to open new stores both in the U.S. and globally.

Another way to increase sales is by growing membership, and last week, management implied that a fee rise is on the horizon. Fees were $1 billion in the first quarter and went straight to the bottom line. They also generate lots of cash, which Costco uses to support its dividend and, when especially flush, issue a special dividend.

Costco is a great stock to buy now and hold, and investors should see more gains from this perennial winner.