Why Nick Cannon gives himself a pep talk in the mirror every morning

Nick Cannon
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Nick Cannon may be used to the spotlight, but he still takes a minute to give himself a pep talk every day.

"I often wake up in the morning and encourage myself in the mirror," Cannon tells CNBC.

He likes to pump himself up to take on whatever adversities he might be facing. For instance, he might say to himself: "It doesn't matter what other people say. I will do this. I will become this."

"You have to build yourself up first and foremost," Cannon says. "Whatever your vision, whatever your dream is — speak it into existence."

Marguerite Ward and Nick Cannon
Krista Braun | CNBC

The 35-year-old is an entertainment powerhouse. He is the host of NBC's "America's Got Talent," a rapper, a script writer (one of the youngest in TV's history), an actor, comedian and business owner.

But before he made it to Hollywood as a teen breakout star on Nickelodeon, everyone told him he was chasing a wild dream. He didn't come from the right neighborhood, and he didn't have the right look, Cannon recalls critics saying.

He couldn't even afford bus fare to get to nearby comedy clubs until he started taking odd jobs, one of which was helping out a local car mechanic.

On top of that, Cannon struggled academically, he says. His hyperactivity and difficulty focusing put him behind his peers.

But it didn't faze him. "It taught me perseverance more than anything, even a sense of integrity," Cannon says.

A major turning point came when he embraced the characteristics he always thought were flaws. Harnessing his high level of energy and propensity to jump from task to task actually fueled his creativity.

Whatever your vision, whatever your dream is — speak it into existence.
Nick Cannon
entertainer and entrepreneur

"It used to be very difficult for me to focus, and you know even to this day I have those same issues," Cannon says. "But I've learned to manage it in such a way to where what used to be a hinderance is now quite helpful to me."

The self-described "entertainerpreneur" is working on a new album and just directed a film that's going to be featured in the Toronto International Film Festival. He also runs his own media company, Ncredible Entertainment.

Cannon's latest project? Turning the videos he posts on Instagram of spoken word poetry into a book and album.

"I love challenges," he says. "I love when people say, 'This has never been done before. That's impossible.' Because to make the impossible possible is truly the magic that we all strive for."