A sudden drop in stock prices can make investors nervous about putting money to work in the stock market. But a company's ability to deliver compounding earnings growth over many years is what causes its stock to rise. It's much easier to predict a company's growth than time the market.

Stocks can fall unexpectedly, but the best growth stocks rise much higher than they fall over time. If you have some extra cash to invest, here are two growth stocks that could deliver outstanding returns for decades to come.

1. Tesla

It's a common mistake to look at a stock's past return and not see the potential for more gains. But Tesla (TSLA 2.92%) has been a perfect example that when you think a growth stock can't rise any higher, the company continues to surprise.

After a phenomenal run over the last 10 years in which the stock climbed 2,700%, the share price has fallen well off its highs. Tesla is one of the most-followed stocks on Wall Street, so on any given day, there can be a lot of factors moving the stock up or down.

But the biggest factor contributing to its recent slide is the economy. Auto industry sales in 2022 were the worst in over a decade, and analysts are concerned about Tesla's recent price cutting to boost sales, which could hurt profits. 

However, Tesla is leading the push for electric vehicles (EVs) in a number of ways. First, it generates a higher profit margin than other car manufacturers, so the company's recent price cutting is coming from a position of strength. And it's not like the company is suffering. Tesla reported an 18% year-over-year increase in auto revenue in the first quarter. 

But another important reason to like Tesla is its rapidly growing brand value. It sold more EVs globally in 2022 than anyone else. The company was ranked in YPulse's top-10 list of brands that millennials most want to own, putting it on par with other luxury brands like Gucci (PPRUY -1.67%) (PPRU.F -0.59%), Louis Vuitton (LVMUY -0.93%) (LVMHF -0.68%), and Rolex. 

Tesla is also not short of growth opportunities. It's still only accounting for a fraction of the annual light-vehicle sales in the U.S. The upcoming launch of its Cybertruck, currently expected for third-quarter delivery, will put Tesla in line to compete with the best-selling vehicles, pickup trucks.  

Another reason to buy Tesla stock is that its business is more than just EVs. The company has a fast-growing solar energy segment, which posted revenue growth of 148% year over year in the first quarter.

The company's enormous growth has always made the stock look expensive. But investors who remain patient and have faith in Elon Musk's vision should be well rewarded in the years to come.

2. Lululemon Athletica

While Nike continues to be the most popular athletic-wear brand with Gen Z shoppers, investors wanting to find the next Nike should look no further than Lululemon Athletica (LULU -0.75%).

Lululemon was founded more than 20 years ago and has focused on women's apparel for most of its history. The company has consistently posted double-digit revenue growth over the last 10 years, delivering a 365% return to investors, but there are plenty of opportunities for this brand to keep growing for a long time.

The stock is down over concerns about the economy, but the company's results are stellar. Revenue and earnings per share grew 30% and 29%, respectively, last year. These are impressive numbers during a period of high inflation and make you wonder how much faster Lululemon would be growing if not for the headwinds.

It's also exciting for long-term investors that Lululemon is still primarily a North American brand, which means there are a lot of markets around the world that don't have one of its stores yet. Revenue outside of North America totaled only 16% of the business last year. 

Another sign that the brand has a lot of potential to scale into a global athletic-wear brand is the growth in men's apparel. Women's apparel made up 65% of revenue last year, but men's clothing has consistently been growing faster in recent years. Men are still discovering the functionality of Lululemon's technical apparel for workouts. Over the last three years, men's revenue has grown 26% per year compared to 23% for the women's side.  

Lululemon is not only crossing geographic boundaries but also proving to be equally effective at marketing to men, which is a great sign for its universal appeal -- a key factor if it's going to deliver generational wealth, as Nike did. The company continues to expand into new categories, including a recent entry into women's footwear, with a men's line coming next year. 

All the signs are clearly pointing to a long-term winner.