What's the meaning of life? It's one of the ultimate questions, and many of us know better than to try to answer it authoritatively. Thankfully, it's much easier to say what matters to each of us as individuals. For many of us, those things include time with families and close friends, successful careers, and activities that allow us to relax and rejuvenate.

Fool co-founder David Gardner has built a very successful investing career by watching important trends in our society and investing in those that have staying power. Many of his Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections are companies that have found ways to improve and enhance our lives. Let's take a look at some of these companies that help us cope with the daily grind -- two newer picks that have great potential and one that has beaten the S&P 500 by nearly 150% since it was recommended back in 2002.

The space-time continuum
If there's anything that defines our culture at the moment, it's a marked lack of time. The sheer length of many people's work weeks compounded with heavy traffic in many urban areas doesn't allow for activities like taking the kids to soccer practice or enjoying a well-deserved night out on the town. There just isn't enough time in the day.

One of David's recent recommendations is a company that tries to bring order to your chaotic life -- PDA pioneer Palm (NASDAQ:PALM). Its most recent product, the Treo 650 smartphone, incorporates a telephone, PDA, email, messaging, and more. Its upcoming version will include Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) software. Palm has already beaten the S&P 500 by almost 20% since David recommended it for Stock Advisor in April -- and he believes it has a long way to go as it takes on its arch-rival, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).

Man's best friend
The things that matter most to us include, of course, our families. These days, the nuclear family has morphed to include some new members who mean more to us now than ever before -- pets. Even Hurricane Katrina underlined Americans' loyalty to their pets -- lawmakers are now considering legislation to include pets in evacuation plans following the refusal of many people to evacuate without their beloved four-legged friends.

That dedication is part of the reason why David highlighted PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) as a recommendation earlier this year. Nearly 70% of Americans have animals of some kind, according to the American Pet Producers Manufacturers Association. A whopping $35.9 billion will be spent on pets by the end of this year -- and not just on staples like food, collars, toys, and supplies. PetSmart has already made a go of pet lodging, and there are plenty of additional areas for growth, considering how people are taking to medical advancements for pets, even pet behaviorists.

David recommended PetSmart stock in February. Although shares are currently down 30% vs. the S&P -- PetSmart recently trimmed its third-quarter view because of troubles from Hurricane Katrina and spiking oil prices -- David picks stocks with a long-term view, and PetSmart shares may very well represent a bargain right now. The trends are certainly on the company's side, as is David's record for picking stocks that exhibit high rates of growth. Personally, I wouldn't want to bet against the attachment that Americans feel for their pets and their desire to provide them with the best.

Let me entertain you
Last but not least, our society puts great store in entertainment. Whether it's catching the latest movie blockbuster playing at the multiplex, renting a flick, listening to your favorite music, or playing a video game, there are many opportunities afoot for investors.

Books (including comic books and "graphic novels"), movies, television, and music are all within the realm of popular culture. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is an excellent example of a company that is benefiting from consumers' desire to be entertained in many ways. David thought so, too.

Amazon supplies books, DVDs, video games, computers, music, MP3 players, and more, all of which play into the symbiotic web of stocks that make up what David has described as his entertainment keiretsu (for a detailed description of this concept, check out the July 2005 issue -- you can access the full newsletter archives online instantly when you take a 30-day free trial). Amazon has been a powerhouse investment that has exceeded the S&P by 147% since David recommended it way back in October 2002.

Buying into what matters
Together, David and his brother, Tom, have culled more than 60 stock picks since Stock Advisor's inaugural issue in April 2002. If you'd like to see all their recommendations, the brothers are offering a free 30-day trial subscription, which will give you access not only to the stock picks and issue archives, but also to a vibrant discussion board community, educational tools, and two new picks each month going forward.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.