Like a bag of rocks in a dryer.

That's how we felt Sunday night in southern Florida as Hurricane Wilma's fierce winds battered our makeshift fortress of aluminum shutters. Monday was spent taking those same pummeled panels off my mother-in-law's home before we negotiated a sprawl of downed trees and utility poles to assess the damage to my own home.

We made out relatively well. We lost some trees. Obviously, we lost power, and our electric company warns that we may not have any for weeks. I had already been rendered powerless for six days after Hurricane Katrina. And I had gone through enough "less" feelings -- powerless, helpless, hopeless -- for one hurricane season, so we decided to migrate a few hours north to our condo in Kissimmee.

This isn't a survival story, though. It's actually an investing story about the merits of forcing yourself to do without certain conveniences you may have taken for granted. I spent Monday recovering, Tuesday migrating, and Wednesday recharging. In that time, I never bothered to pull up quotes or fall into the practice of pulling up the perpetual scorecard of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers premium newsletter service.

Man, I should go without more often. Before Wilma smacked Florida, the average Rule Breakers recommendation had risen a little better than 6%. That's not too shabby once you consider that the average pick has been active for a little more than six months and that the S&P 500 was mustering a slightly negative return during that time. Thursday, I wake up to discover that the typical Rule Breakers selection has soared by nearly 12% since its launch a little over a year ago.

A lot can happen in the span of a few days. It's like watching your kids grow, or, sadly, watching yourself age. You don't notice these things from day to day. However, skip a few years of your family reunions, and you will really see how folks can change.

That's Rule Breakers investing for you. Because we're talking about ultimate growth stock investing, there's a flawed perception that everything needs to be wedged into a petri dish and magnified. I've found that the opposite is true. Obviously, a lot of amazing things happened within the Rule Breakers bloodstream while I was trying to make sense of the bad breaks that my otherwise fine peninsular state has gone through with seven named hurricanes blazing through this season.

For starters, I was refreshingly surprised to see that Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) shot up 25% yesterday after a strong earnings report. Now, I wasn't surprised to learn that the robotic-arm specialist had a blowout quarter. Go back in three-month increments, and you will see that Intuitive has put the analysts to shame every single time. What surprised me is that in my disconnected state of coping with calamity, I forgot that great companies will do great things.

Intuitive is the third Rule Breaker to have doubled this year. None of the selections popped overnight. One pick meandered before a promising acquisition catapulted the shares higher, while a hot biotech just wowed the market.

Greatness happens. Sometimes you just need to snap that laptop shut, breathe in some fresh outside air, and come back later to assess the brilliance. Some of my best-performing stocks, like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Pixar (NASDAQ:PIXR), just happen to be the ones that I have owned the longest. I'm encouraged by what the Rule Breakers scorecard could look like in a few years, once the typical pick has more than six months to simmer. If staying away from the list for just a few days can be this rewarding, I'm guessing that Rip Van Winkle would have woken up richer had he made a few key investments before snoozing off.

So, sure, I can seethe and begin erecting a case for shorting FPL Group (NYSE:FPL). I can lather myself up in self-pity, but why? The longer you shut your eyes, the more unexpected the changes will be once you open them back up.

Time is usually the secret recipe for making any investing philosophy more tasty. That's why I feel almost guilty when I encourage someone to go for a free 30-day trial subscription for Rule Breakers when four weeks and change may not be enough time to fully appreciate the significance of your absence.

If you can force yourself to be a long-term investor and disconnect from the perpetual dissection, you may not realize how powerful an investor you have become -- but everyone else will.

How powerful? Like a bag of rocks in a dryer.

Netflix and Pixar are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks Wilma was even more ravaging than the horrific Hurricane Andrew that he endured in 1992. He does own shares in Netflix and Pixar. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.